In The Deer in Petworth Park by the English painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851), the objects and creatures of the external world are treated as if a vehicle for self-expression. Pentworth Park in West Sussex, South East England is renowned for having the largest herd of Fallow deer in the world. The deer of the title are sketched quickly and have as much the appearance of a notation with the brush as the appearance of actual deer. The low horizon line sets the scene for one of Turner’s famous skies that is dramatically swept with red, yellow and brown. These factors make this work as much about painting as about the landscape it shows. This watercolour was painted in the middle of his long career, in 1827 when aged 52.
J.M.W. Turner’s The Deer in Petworth Park is in the Tate Britain Museum in London.