The two painters carried out a number of productive sketching sojourns in the beautiful Devonian countryside and when, in September, Turner returned home to Twickenham he wrote to thank Johns for his hospitality. Within this letter, which has only recently come to light, Turner stated that he had found ‘time to put upon paper the Trees’.2 Ian Warrell has suggested that Turner may well have been referring to the present sheet which, as a sign of gratitude, he presented to his friend.
Later the drawing entered the collection of J.E. Taylor, the celebrated collector who, in 1892, bequeathed 154 watercolours (including twenty-four works by Turner) to the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. The present work was not part of that bequest and was acquired by the father-in-law of the present owner, via Agnew's, at Taylor's executor's sale in 1912. We would like to thank Ian Warrell for his help when cataloguing this work.
1. See E. Shanes, J.M.W. Turner A life in Art, Young Mr Turner, The First Forty Years 1775-1815, Yale 2016, p. 427
2. Letter from Turner to Johns, 14 September 1813 (Cy Twombly Estate)
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