J.M.W. TURNER R.A.
H.A.J. Munro of Novar
Allon Dawson (by 1935)
By descent in his family until 1986
Thos. Agnew & Sons Ltd, 1987, no.40
Private Collection, UK
Agnews, Annual Exhibition, 1987, no.32
A.J. Finberg, Turner’s Newly Identified Yorkshire Sketchbook, Connoisseur, October 1935, pp. 185-7
A.J. Finberg, The Life of JMW Turner, 1961, pp.286-7
I. Warrell, Turner’s Sketchbooks, 2014, pp.134-5
This quickly executed depiction of the sun appearing through clouds at dawn originally came from a page in a half-filled sketchbook, known as the Farnley-Munro sketchbook, which was given by Turner to his friend and patron H.A.J. Munro of Novar. A piece of paper pasted inside the front cover of the Farnley-Munro sketchbook has this in Munro’s hand: “When I travelled in 1836 with Turner through France, Switzerland and Val d’Aosta I found this sketchbook among my things – I showed it to Turner, who after looking over it, again put it into my hands - I suppose it had been originally put up to enable him to make use of the unused paper in it”.
The paper is watermarked ‘J.Whatman 1822’ and A.J. Finberg has convincingly identified the sketchbook as dating to 19th November – 14th December, 1824 when Turner visited his friend and patron Walter Fawkes at Farnley Hall in Yorkshire. The dating is quite certain because Turner didn’t go to Farnley in either 1822 or 1823 and could not bear to go there again after Walter Fawkes’s death which took place on 25th October 1825.
This sketchbook therefore commemorates Turner’s last visit to Farnley. Finberg has suggested that the book was put into Turner’s luggage for the trip abroad by his housekeeper because she noticed that it was only half-filled. However, when Turner looked through it again in 1836 it must have evoked so many poignant memories of his friendship with Walter Fawkes that he decided to part with it, and thus gave it to Munro as recorded above.
The watercolour has not been seen in public for over 30 years.