J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Rumbling Bridge, Perth and Kinross 1834

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 43 Verso:
Rumbling Bridge, Perth and Kinross 1834
Turner Bequest CCLXIX 43a
Pencil on off-white wove paper, 190 x 113 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner passed through the village of Rumbling Bridge on his journey east from Callander to Kinross during a ten-day journey around Scotland; see Tour of Scotland for Scott’s Prose Works 1834 Tour Introduction. Here he took the opportunity to sketch the famous bridge after which the village had been named, which was now a popular tourist attraction.1 This architectural wonder is really two bridges built on top of each other, the upper arch being a later addition to allow vehicles to cross to river. The structure was named after the sound that the River Devon makes as it tumbles over the Devil’s Mill waterfall and through the gorge under the bridge.
Turner made three sketches of the bridge on the present page and folios 10 and 43 (D26277, D26339). All three depict the bridge from the northern bank just downstream of the structure to the south. The present view, drawn with the book turned to the right, was made from quite a low level (as on folio 10) and depicts the defile as a shaded crevice in the rock with the two arches above it. The water can be seen at the bottom of the sketch where it turns and falls sharply. Scribbles and dashes represent the rocky sides of the gorge and the shrubs that cover them. At the top right of the page Turner made a separate sketch of the corbels that run along the parapet of the upper arch.

Turner appears not to have sought any other views of the bridge, or to have preceded any further along the river to the nearby Cauldron Linn, although Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan have suggested that it is possible that some of the sketches of the Falls of Clyde in this sketchbook may in fact depict the River Devon (folio 1 verso; D26260).2

Thomas Ardill
October 2010

Identified by Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1990, Vol.10 No.1, p.12 and Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1990, Vol.10 No.2, p.30. The spot is recommended by The Scottish Tourist, and Itinerary; or A Guide to the Scenery and Antiquities of Scotland and the Western Islands with a Description of the Principal Steam-Boat Tours, fourth edition, Edinburgh 1831, pp.132–5.
Wallace-Hadrill and Carolan 1990, Vol.10 No.2, p.30.

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘Rumbling Bridge, Perth and Kinross 1834 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, October 2010, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-rumbling-bridge-perth-and-kinross-r1136270, accessed 21 June 2018.