James WardFirst Compositional Study for 'Gordale Scar' 1811

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Artwork details

Artist
James Ward (1769‑1859)
Title
First Compositional Study for 'Gordale Scar'
Date 1811
MediumGraphite on paper
Dimensionssupport: 273 x 364 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1983
Reference
T03577
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

T03577 FIRST COMPOSITIONAL STUDY FOR ‘GORDALE SCAR’ 1811

Pencil on cream paper 10 3/4 × 14 1/4 (273 × 364)
Inscribed ‘Malham water|Augt. 15th 1811’ in pencil lower left with ‘JWD. [in monogram] RA’ added in pencil below that, at a later date, and ‘Gordale’ also added in pencil, at a later date, bottom left of centre
Purchased (Grant-in-Aid) 1983
Prov: By descent from the artist to Professor Robert Werner and thence to his daughter Mme E. Arnold, from whom purchased by the Tate Gallery
Exh: James Ward's Gordale Scar - An Essay in the Sublime, Tate Gallery, November 1982–January 1983 (2, repr. p.36)

This is one of the earliest studies for the very large (131 × 166in) painting generally known as ‘Gordale Scar’, on which Ward worked from 1811 to 1815, and which he exhibited at the RA in 1815 (225) with the title ‘A View of Gordale, in the manor of East Malham in Craven, Yorkshire, the property of Lord Ribblesdale’; the painting is in the Tate's collection (N01043).

Edward J. Nygren's note on this drawing in the Gordale Scar exhibition catalogue (pp.36–7) is as follows: ‘The first overall dated compositional study for the painting, this perspective drawing of the Scar treats the view in terms of mass and planes. By this time, Ward must have visited most of the sites in the area since his view is less an accurate transcription of the Scar itself than a synthesis of visual impression of the geological features of the area, including nearby Malham Cove. There are faint line drawings of the bull on the right and cattle on the left… (read more)

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