March-October, Sat-Sun & bank holidays, 11am-6pm
Venue contact details:
T: 01289 382322
Plumpton Rocks is a large picturesque garden formed in the 1760s by creating a lake at the foot of an extensive range of weathered and contorted gritstone outcrops. Known as Plompton Rocks in Turner's time, an early guide mentioned that 'seats are placed in different parts from whence the spectator may have the most advantageous views of the different objects that compose this romantic scene. The striking contrasts of the weather-beaten rock, with the blooming verdure that surrounds it, affords a pleasing instance of what nature, properly assisted by art, is capable of producing.' Plumpton Rocks is today perhaps assisted rather more by nature than art, but is nonetheless a delightful spot.
Turner painted two oil paintings of Plumpton Rocks following his first visit to Yorkshire in 1797. They were commissioned by the 1st Earl of Harewood, who owned the estate of Plumpton Rocks at that time, to hang in the Saloon at Harewood House. These were his first commissioned landscapes in oils and he charged the Earl a little more than £32 for the pair. Although this was still quite a large sum (the equivalent of a few months' wages for a labourer), within a few years Turner was so successful, he could charge twenty times that amount.
Turner's two oil paintings, both known as 'Plompton Rocks' depict the view from the two opposite ends of the water. One is of the lake head looking south, with fisherman at work on the lake (Plompton Rocks, Harewood House Trust, Butlin & Joll number: 27), while the other is from the dam looking north, with fisherman packing up for the night (Plompton Rocks, Harewood House Trust, Butlin & Joll number: 26).
The view from the south end of the lake looking north is remarkably well preserved and Turner's view is almost unchanged.
Discover The Landscape
The Turner Trails bench and panel are located at Turner's exact viewpoint at the south end, situated on the dam at the outflow of the lake.
Download our themed leaflet and let the rivers and waterfalls guide you around Turner's Yorkshire as water literally flows through many of his sketches and paintings.
Plumpton, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, HG5 8NA
Map reference: SE355536View on map
Directions to Plumpton Rocks:
7 miles NW of Wetherby on the A661. The turn to Plumpton Rocks is clearly signposted