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This is a right-hand page from the sketchbook. Finberg notes that when exhibited at the National Gallery the subject was ‘probably erroneously’ described as Cowley, near Crediton, Devon. Gage compares this ‘very exceptional watercolour of a frieze of trees and a bridge’ to an oil sketch Trees beside the River, with Bridge in the Middle Distance (Tate N02692)1 while Butlin and Joll compare it to another oil sketch (Tate N05519)2 with a tentative identification as Kew Bridge. Hill illustrates it as Richmond, and from the Middlesex bank, but this too seems doubtful.
With quick brushwork and informal, unstructured design this watercolour has been widely seen as representing Turner’s most naturalistic, spontaneous treatment of Thames scenery while living at Isleworth. Wilton, on the other hand, argues for ‘a sophistication of purpose that goes rather further than that of a direct plein-air sketch’ and notes the similarity of the wooded setting to others that Turner used for classical and literary subjects.3
Blank, save for traces of blue watercolour.