Joseph Mallord William Turner

Durham: Buildings on the Elvet Bridge


View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Graphite on paper
Support: 210 x 270 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXXIV 31

Catalogue entry

David Hill speculates that Turner stayed in Durham for about three days. The majority of his drawings there are in the Tweed and Lakes sketchbook (Tate D01013–D01018; Turner Bequest XXXV 10–15), as he evidently wished to take advantage of the larger sheet size to convey his response, in particular, to the great Norman cathedral.
Drawn with the page turned horizontally, this study of the eastern end of Elvet Bridge, built over the River Wear in the thirteenth century, is the only Durham subject in the North of England sketchbook. It was a popular subject with picturesque topographers such as Thomas Hearne (1744–1817), whose view of it is in the British Museum, London (1859–5–28–207).1 The western part of the bridge is recorded in the Tweed and Lakes book (Tate D01017; Turner Bequest XXXV 14).2
See Martin Hardie (Dudley Snelgrove, Jonathan Mayne and Basil Taylor, eds.), Water-colour Painting in Britain, vol.I, The Eighteenth Century, London 1966, p.180.
Hill 1996, p. 56
Blank; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram.

Andrew Wilton
January 2013

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