Joseph Mallord William Turner

On the River Medway at Chatham, with Upnor Castle, and Rochester in the Distance

c.1821

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 112 x 190 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17446
Turner Bequest CXCIX 47 a

Catalogue entry

Identified by Finberg as scenes on the River Medway, two drawings mark the top portion of this sheet.1 The topmost of these describes a hilltop fort in the distance at centre, possibly Fort Pitt at Chatham. The river in the foreground is populated only by a single light craft towards the left, while the topographic horizon is peppered with architectural constructions.
Lower down the page, a second drawing appears to describe a distant view of Rochester Castle from the northeast, visible at left alongside the distinctive spire of the adjacent Cathedral. At far right, a broad, turreted building is likely to represent Upnor Castle. A number of boats occupy the water at left. The most significantly foregrounded of these overlaps with the sketch above.
There are a great number of studies made at Rochester, Chatham, and Upnor Castle in the present sketchbook. For comprehensive lists of these, see respectively the entries for folios 18 recto, 22 recto, and 87 verso (D17394, D17402, and D17501).

Maud Whatley
January 2016

1
Finberg 1909, I, p.609.

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