View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
Turner looks east-north-east up the River Wear, spanned by the medieval Elvet Bridge. Beyond, the ground rises to Gilesgate and the tower of St Giles’s Church on the left; the hillside is now occupied by the extensive buildings of Durham University’s College of St Hild and St Bede. Beyond the shallow valley east of the church is Pelaw Wood, which still survives. Turner had made a detailed drawing of the east end of the bridge and the houses built on it in the North of England sketchbook of 1797 (Tate D00937; Turner Bequest XXXIV 31), including the tall, hexagonal façade indicated here towards the right.
This subject is isolated towards one end of the sketchbook, but there is a continuous run of drawings of Durham towards the other, between folio 6 recto (D12325) and folio 14 recto (D12334), including a view of the far side of the bridge on folio 11 recto (D12331). For Turner’s other visits to the city, see the entry for D12325.
There is a small hole, possibly a paper fault, near the centre of the leaf.