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This canvas painted for William Moffatt depicts his estate at Mortlake, on the Thames just west of London. Like so many of Turner’s works, it is based on numerous preparatory drawings, in which the artist recorded the topography and studied various ways of balancing the mass of the house and land against the open river and sky. A companion view of the terrace and river on a summer evening as seen from a ground-floor window of the house is in the National Gallery, Washington. Shown in the same Royal Academy exhibition of 1826 as the more ambitious painting of Cologne, Mortlake Terrace was praised for its “lightness and simplicity.” Turner’s penchant for a luminous shade of yellow is again a dominant feature of the painting.

Source: Art in The Frick Collection: Paintings, Sculpture, Decorative Arts, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1996.

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