Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ivybridge: The River Erme and ?Stowford Paper Mill


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 166 x 208 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXV 47

Catalogue entry

Ruskin noted this drawing1 as the source of Turner’s oil painting Ivy Bridge Mill, Devonshire, exhibited at his gallery in 1812 (private collection).2 The painting closely follows the sketch, which includes an unusual amount of shading. The Arjo Wiggins paper company now occupies the much rebuilt Stowford mill, established in 17873 on the east bank of the Erme upstream from Ivy Bridge, on the northern outskirts of the town of Ivybridge, although the oldest parts of the current complex date from 1862.4
Finberg numbers this page towards the end of his listing for this sketchbook, but it is unclear whether the leaf was actually bound there or simply noted after the bound sheets. The same applies to the drawing now bound as folio 1 recto (D08939; CXXV 48), which probably shows a nearby view. Conversely, the first page Finberg lists (D08865; CXXV 1) is now bound at the back of the book as folio 48 verso.
There are views of the nearby bridge in the Devonshire Coast, No.1 sketchbook (Tate D08654, D08655; Turner Bequest CXXIII 153, 153a), and in the later Devon Rivers, No.2 sketchbook (Tate D09722; Turner Bequest CXXXIII 45), where adjacent pages may show the paper mill (D09723, D09724; CXXXIII 46, 47).
Catalogue of the Sketches and Drawings by J.M.W. Turner, R.A. Exhibited in Marlborough House in the Year 1857–8 in Cook and Wedderburn 1904, p.259; see Finberg 1961, p.191, Butlin and Joll 1984, p.86, Taylor 1960, p.28, and Joll and Butlin 1982, p.101.
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.86–7 no.122, pl.128.
‘Heritage Trail’, Ivybridge Town Guide, accessed 26 March 2009,
Nikolaus Pevsner, South Devon, The Buildings of England, Harmondsworth 1952, p.186.
Technical notes:
The sheet is darkened from prolonged exposure, except where the edges were protected by its mount.
Blank, save for inscription in pencil ‘CXXV. 47’ bottom right. Tears to the edges have been repaired.

Matthew Imms
February 2011

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