Richmond from the moors
Richmond from the moors has been identified as having been in the Windus collection from the painting of the Library at Tottenham by John Scarlett Davis. It was donated by John Ruskin to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
The Fitzwilliam Museums’ collection of watercolours by J.M.W. Turner was founded in 1861 by the generous gift of twenty-five watercolours from John Ruskin, Turner’s most fervent champion and critic. Richmond from the moors by JMW Turner was shown in the Ruskin’s Turners exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in 2015 which included watercolours made for engraving, book illustration and vignettes, as well as landscape watercolours. The restrictions which Ruskin imposed on the terms of his gift mean that these drawings may not be lent outside the Museum.
In JMW Turner RA: Line Engravings on copper, by W G Rawlinson (Macmillan, 1908) describes the painting, and the engraving process by JT Willmore:
The town in mid-distance to left, seen from high ground; the Castle conspicuous in light. A reach of river low on right, flowing between hills. Girl playing with dog in foreground.
Engraver’s Proofs. Without any letters. One touched by Turner. B.
First Pub. State. In centre, “Eng” by J. T. Willmore from a drawing by J. M. W. Turner RA.” Before Title, etc.
Second and Later States. As Bievaulx Abbey, No. 209, but with Date, March 1, 1828.
This Drawing is in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge.
This is probably the finest of Turner’s many renderings of Richmond, Yorkshire.
Ruskin in Modern Painters sketched Richmond from the moors and noted that:
… it is the outline only of a group of leaves out of Turner’s foreground in the Richmond from the Moors, of which I give a reduced etching, Plate 61 [see below], for the sake of the foreground principally, and in Plate 62 [see below], the group of leaves in question, in their light and shade, with the bridge beyond. What I have chiefly to say of them belongs to our section on composition; but this mere fragment of a Turner foreground may perhaps lead the reader to take note in his great pictures of the almost inconceivable labor with which he has sought to express the redundance and delicacy of ground leafage.