Joseph Mallord William Turner Trees beside the River, with Bridge in the Middle Distance c.1806–7

Artwork details

Artist
Title
Trees beside the River, with Bridge in the Middle Distance
Date c.1806–7
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 879 x 1206 mm
frame: 1193 x 1550 x 140 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
N02692
On display at Tate Britain

Display caption

This is an oil sketch or unfinished painting, its design brushed freely over a pale ground. It is one of a group of Thames landscapes which were probably painted in the open air during Turner’s boating expeditions along the river.

However, this composition is not just spontaneous but formal and controlled. Its symmetry is almost classical, and the arches in the background seem more like a Roman aqueduct than a modern Thames bridge. In his drawings, Turner often juxtaposed Thames scenery with ideal versions looking back to antiquity.

February 2010

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