(Herefordshire, England) – In a remarkable turn of events, a long-lost sketch by the renowned British Romantic artist, Joseph Mallord William Turner, has been discovered in the attic of Kinsham Court, a privately-owned estate nestled in the picturesque countryside of England. This extraordinary watercolor, believed to have been completed in 1796 when Turner was just 21 years old, is set to make its way to auction, carrying an estimated value of £30,000-£50,000 (38,000-63,000).
The newly recovered sketch, a testament to Turner’s early artistic prowess, will go under the hammer in March at Minster Auctions, a local auction house in England’s West Midlands. This exceptional find is expected to garner global attention, captivating art enthusiasts and collectors alike.
The sketch, rendered with Turner’s signature expressive style, depicts Hampton Court Castle in Herefordshire, a majestic structure often mistaken for Hampton Court Palace in London. The commission for this piece came from George Viscount Malden, the 5th Earl of Essex, who had recently inherited the estate. At the time, Turner, a rising star in the art world, had already gained recognition as an exhibiting member of the Royal Academy since the tender age of 15.
The Arkwright family held ownership of Hampton Court between 1810 and 1910. Upon selling the estate, John Stanhope Arkwright acquired Kinsham Court, potentially bringing Turner’s sketch with him. Remarkably, the sketch remained hidden for decades within the attic’s confines until Arkwright’s descendants stumbled upon it amidst a collection of watercolors.
The invaluable discovery was brought to the attention of Minster’s painting specialist, James Pearn, whose keen eye instantly recognized the Turner masterpiece. “I had a strong sense of what it was,” Pearn remarked to the BBC, highlighting the thrill of his profession where each day brings new artistic revelations.
Despite the absence of a signature, the sketch’s authenticity remains unquestionable. “The signature lies within the style,” Pearn explained, pointing to Turner’s unique artistic mannerisms. From the distinctive tree renderings to the intricate shadows and the harmonious composition of animals, the sketch bears striking similarities to Turner’s other works from that period.
This remarkable rediscovery offers a glimpse into Turner’s early artistic journey, shedding light on the formative years of a master. The upcoming auction presents an extraordinary opportunity for art collectors and enthusiasts to acquire a piece of history and celebrate the enduring legacy of JMW Turner.