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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Rural Buildings and a Bridge, Probably in County Durham or Northumberland 1817

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 92 Recto:
Rural Buildings and a Bridge, Probably in County Durham or Northumberland 1817
Turner Bequest CLVII 92
Pencil on white wove paper, 116 x 185 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ’92’ top left, upside down (now very faint)
Stamped in black ‘CLVII – 92’ top left, upside down
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Below the profile of a distant hill, there are separate studies of an imposing domestic building, presumably a farmhouse, at the top, with a bridge and chapel-like structure below. These also appear respectively to the left and right of the farmhouse in the distance of a detailed view of a wide valley in the contemporary Raby sketchbook (D40764, D12311; Turner Bequest CLVI 20 ‘verso’–29).
These buildings remain unidentified but were presumably observed in Durham or Northumberland along with the other sites recorded in the present sketchbook, or possibly on the way to or near Farnley Hall, Walter Fawkes’s home in North Yorkshire, where Turner came to rest at the end of his travels (see the introduction to the tour).
There appear to be no matches for any of these structures among extensive Durham and Northumberland County Councils photographic archives of listed buildings and other sites,1 although the farmhouse appears characteristic of the area. Gerald Wilkinson has described the subject ‘in its simplicity’ as among Turner’s ‘most appealing drawings – on a single, parallel plane’.2 The immediate context of this subject, among sketches of Northumberland’s Prudhoe Castle, is not necessarily a clue to the location of the buildings here, as the complementary Raby sketch mentioned above falls between unrelated Northumberland and County Durham subjects.

Matthew Imms
February 2010

Searches conducted at Keys to the Past, accessed 4 February 2010, http://www.keystothepast.info.
Wilkinson 1974, p.170.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Rural Buildings and a Bridge, Probably in County Durham or Northumberland 1817 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, February 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-rural-buildings-and-a-bridge-probably-in-county-durham-or-r1139446, accessed 16 August 2017.