Joseph Mallord William Turner

Rumbling Bridge, Perth and Kinross, and the River Devon


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 190 x 113 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIX 10

Catalogue entry

While many writers have grouped the two sketches on this page among views of the Falls of Clyde in Lanarkshire (folios 1–12; D26259–D26281),1 the sketch at the left of the page, drawn with the book turned to the left, has been identified instead as depicting the Rumbling Bridge over the River Devon in the village of the same name in the district of Perth and Kinross.2 Like Turner’s other two sketches of the bridge (folios 43 and 43 verso; D26339, D26340), this was made from the northern bank of the river just downstream (south) of the bridge. The shadow beneath the lower arch represents the crevice in the rock through which the river flows after tumbling over Devil’s Mill waterfall.
The sketch on the right side of the page, drawn with the book back in the landscape format, depicts a river and perhaps a small waterfall or rapids as seen from a high river bank. While this subject fits well with the Falls of Clyde group, the fact that it is drawn at the edge of the page, with hardly enough room for such a view, suggests that it is unlikely to have been drawn before the Rumbling Bridge, which Turner visited after his trip to Lanarkshire; see Tour of Scotland for Scott’s Poetical Works 1834 Tour Introduction.
A more likely possibility therefore is the River Devon, and the view downstream towards Cauldron Linn from the same vantage point as the Rumbling Bridge sketch. Folio 43 also carries a sketch of a river than is likely to be the Devon.3

Thomas Ardill
October 2010

Butlin, Wilton and Gage 1974, p.126 under no.451; Milner 1990, p.68.
Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1990, vol.10 no.1, p.12; Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1990, vol.10 no.2, p.30.
Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1990, vol.10 no.2, p.30.

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