Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Bridge over a Mountain Stream: ?Gorges du Guiers Mort, Chartreuse

1802

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Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Chalk and graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 454 x 661 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D04889
Turner Bequest LXXIX O

Catalogue entry

This sketch was made on one of the large loose sheets of buff French paper that Turner took with him to Switzerland in 1802. The bridge might be the same as in D04888; Turner Bequest LXXIX N from this series, previously identified as perhaps the ‘Little Devil’s Bridge’, or Pfaffensprung or ‘Priest’s Leap’ bridge over the River Reuss on the way to Wassen via the St Gotthard road, but perhaps in not such a dramatic location and instead in the Grande Chartreuse. It seems unlikely that Turner could have climbed down to the bottom of the Reuss gorge to make such a large drawing. The handling of the chalks and emphasis on tone is reminiscent of drawings from the Grenoble sketchbook, which Turner used extensively in the same area (for example Tate D04523; Turner Bequest LXXIV 30), and the toned paper is from the same Parisian maker.
In the 2006 Tate exhibition Drawing from Turner, the drawing was shown with copies by Allen Jones and Martin Dukes.
Technical notes:
For the French paper see D04885. The sheet shows evidence of folding, before and after the drawing was made.
Verso:
Laid down

David Blayney Brown
January 2012

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