Joseph Mallord William Turner

Figures on a Barge on a River near a Bridge under a Sunset Sky

1799

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

Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 79 x 130 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D02047
Turner Bequest XLVI 37

Catalogue entry

Finberg suggested1 that this drawing shows London Bridge, but the much lower and more regular sequence of arches indicates a different structure, and one probably not in the metropolis. The fine eighteenth-century Skerton Bridge at Lancaster, built by Thomas Harrison of Chester in 1783–8, might have attracted Turner’s attention as he passed through the town on his way to or from Kirby Lonsdale, but its proportions are again perhaps too grand. The somewhat unusual technique of soft pencil is comparable to that employed in drawings of Caernarvon Castle later in this book (see folios 49 verso–52 recto; D02069–D02074), and it seems likely that the bridge is a Welsh one.
1
A.J. Finberg (died 1939), undated MS note in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.116.
Verso:
Blank; washed with a pale blue-grey ground.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

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