Mortlake Terrace

Joseph Mallord William Turner1827

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Washington, DC, United States

This painting, one of two views of Mortlake Terrace painted by Turner, is a view from the house, looking directly west into the luminous glow of the setting sun. Turner established the quiet mood of the late-afternoon scene with two ivy-covered elm trees, whose soft, feathery leaves and curving limbs frame the painting. Long shadows create elegant patterns on the lawn that almost obscure the human element in the scene. Scattered about are a gardener's ladder, a hoop, a doll on a red chair, and an open portfolio of pictures that have been just left behind by figures watching the Lord Mayor's ceremonial barge.

The painting was done about eight years after Turner's first stay in Venice, where his perception of nature and the physical world was profoundly changed by the city's unique light and atmosphere. Light immobilizes the river and gives its surface a dreamlike shimmer. The stable mass of the classical gazebo, the delicate linear clarity of its architectural details, and the carefully depicted windows in the buildings on the left bank of the river coexist in Turner's vision with the heavy impasto of the sun's forceful rays that spill over the top of the embankment wall and dissolve the stone's very substance.

More information on this painting can be found in the Gallery publication _British Paintings of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries_, which is available as a free PDF <u>https://www.nga.gov/content/dam/ngaweb/research/publications/pdfs/british-paintings-16th-19th-centuries.pdf</u>


  • Title: Mortlake Terrace
  • Creator: Joseph Mallord William Turner
  • Date Created: 1827
  • Physical Dimensions: overall: 92.1 x 122.2 cm (36 1/4 x 48 1/8 in.) framed: 111.1 x 143.2 x 9.5 cm (43 3/4 x 56 3/8 x 3 3/4 in.)
  • Provenance: Painted for William Moffatt [c. 1754/1755-1831], "The Limes," Mortlake. with William Bernard Cooke, the engraver, c. 1831-1838. Harriott, by 1838; (sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 23 June 1838, no. 111); bought by Allnutt.[1] The Reverend Edward Thomas Daniell [1804-1842]; (sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 17 March 1843, no. 160); M.E. Creswick; sold 1851 to (Thos. Agnew & Sons, London); purchased 1851 by Samuel Ashton;[2] by descent to Elizabeth Gair Ashton [Mrs. Hyde Ashton], Cheshire;[3] by descent to Captain Ashton; sold 1920 jointly to (Thos. Agnew & Sons, London) and (Arthur J. Sulley & Co., London); sold 1920 to (M. Knoedler & Co., London and New York); sold 1 December 1920 to Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 28 December 1934 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA. [1] This is probably John Allnutt (1773-1863), a friend and patron of numerous artists, including Turner, John Constable, and Thomas Lawrence. [2] Ashton lent the painting in 1857 to the exhibition in Manchester, _Art Treasures of the United Kingdom_, _Paintings by Modern Masters_, no. 256. [3] She lent it to the exhibition, _Pictures and Drawings by J.M.W. Turner, R.A., and a Selection of Pictures by some of his Contemporaries_, Corporation of London Art Gallery, Guildhall, 1899, no. 23.
  • Medium: oil on canvas

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