An image of High force, Fall of the Tees, Yorkshire

Joseph Mallord William Turner

(England 1775 – 1851)

High force, Fall of the Tees, Yorkshire

Not on display
Further information

This watercolour was commissioned from Turner in 1816 as one of a series intended to serve as an engraved illustration to a 'History of Richmondshire' by the Rev. Thomas Dunham Whitaker. Turner spent the summer of 1816 on a sketching tour of Yorkshire. His base was Farnley Hall, the seat of his friend, William Fawkes. He worked at great speed on a number of watercolours simultaneously, building up his landscapes with fluid washes of translucent colour. Witnessing Turner at work, the Fawkes girls recalled "cords spread across the room as in that of a washer woman, and papers tinted with pink and blue and yellow hanging on them to dry".

When these sheets were dry Turner added final details with the point of the brush, such as the two fishermen, casting and netting, in the pool. A keen angler, Turner would have been interested that High Force was an impassable barrier to salmon, and that the pool at its base was often full of fish. He depicted the cascading water and ripples on the pool by scraping out areas of paint to expose the paper beneath.

watercolour and scraping out
28.3 x 40.3 cm sheet; 28.2 x 39.8 cm sight; 47.0 x 59.0 x 5.5 cm frame
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Purchased 1947
Accession number
Walter Ramsden Fawkes, pre 1825, England, Farnley Hall, Otley near Leeds. a Member of Parliament and High Sherriff
Rev. Ayscough Fawkes, 1825-27 Jun 1890, England, by descent to Ayscough Fawkes. Sold Chritie's London, 27 June 1890, lot 39
Sir Henry Doulton, 27 Jun 1890-1897, England, Purchased from Ayscongh Fawkes' sale of Turner drawings from Farnley Hall through Christie's 27 June 1890 lot 39.
Miss Doulton, 1897-circa 1947, England, by descent, sold to P & D Colnaghi & Co.
P & D Colnaghi and Co, pre Mar 1947, London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from Colnaghi's 1947