Joseph Mallord William Turner

Bothwell Bridge over the River Clyde, Lanarkshire


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 x 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIX 33

Catalogue entry

From the southern bank of the River Clyde, just to the west of Bothwell Bridge, this view looks north across the water towards the four-arch bridge and the town of Bothwell. In this, his penultimate sketch of the bridge, Turner has begun to introduce human presence, indicating two insect-like figures standing on the bridge (above the second arch to the right), and a figure under each of the two right-hand arches, who are presumably, like the figures on folio 33 verso (D26324), fishing. Turner has also, in this sketch, taken more interest in visual details such as the brickwork of the arches and the triangular buttresses. An arrow with an inscription above the right-hand arch may read ‘Iron’. The bridge now has cantilevered iron parapets on both sides, but these do not seem to be present and may not have been added until the improvements in 1871.1 A modern photograph, however, also reveals an iron plate and an iron pipe at this point above the arch. It may be to one of these that the inscription refers. Further incidents of human activity and architectural details are included in Turner’s sketch of the bridge on the reverse of this page (folio 33 verso; D26324).
At the bottom left of the page is a sketch of a house above a hilly riverbank. This is probably a continuation of the left side of the view of the sketch above.
For more information about Turner’s visit to Bothwell, see folio 31 (D26319).

Thomas Ardill
October 2010

‘Bothwell Bridge, Bothwell’, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland, accessed 11 October 2010, .

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