Joseph Mallord William Turner

Rochester, Strood and Chatham on the Medway

c.1830

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 298 x 488 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25231
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 109

Catalogue entry

This colour study has been linked by Eric Shanes as a variant study for the watercolour Rochester, Stroud and Chatham, Medway, Kent of about 1836 (destroyed by fire, 1955),1 engraved in 1838 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impressions: T05104, T06127).2 In the present study a stagecoach is roughly indicated climbing the hill in the left foreground, whereas in the finished design the road is shown in the centre with various figures resting and travelling; but the meandering river and other features in the distance here correspond with the eastwards view in the watercolour, with Strood to the left, Rochester to the right and Chatham beyond.3 Drawings informing the composition are in the Folkestone sketchbook of about 1821 (Tate D17217, D17218, D17221, D17222, D17224, D17350; Turner Bequest CXCVIII 6a–7, 8a–9, 10, 83a).4
Shanes regards the composition as one of a pair with the England and Wales view looking back in the opposite direction, Chatham of about 1830 (private collection),5 discussed under a comparable colour study (Tate D25286; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 164) which was perhaps executed alongside the current work, although the resulting watercolour apparently dates from several years earlier than Rochester, Stroud and Chatham.6
See also the introductions to the present subsection of identified subjects and the overall England and Wales ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which this work has been assigned. For a colour study possibly showing central Rochester with its castle and bridge, see Tate D25474 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 351).
1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.402 no.877.
2
Shanes 1997, pp.72, 96, 105.
3
See Shanes 1997, pp.19, 72.
4
Noted in Shanes 1997, p.73.
5
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.398 no.838.
6
See Shanes 1997, pp.21, 73, 74, 96.
Verso:
Blank, save for inscriptions at bottom right: in pencil ‘AB 93 P’; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram above ‘CCLXIII – 109’; and in pencil ‘CCLXIII.109’.

Matthew Imms
March 2013

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