Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Bend of the River Medway, at Rochester


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCVIII 9

Catalogue entry

Continuing from the facing page on folio 8 verso (D17221), this sketch depicts a view of the Medway that includes Strood, Chatham, and Rochester.1 This part of the drawing predominantly describes Rochester, distinctive for its cathedral and castle which stand close to one another towards the gutter on the left of the sheet. In the immediate foreground Turner has marked a large cross to represent one of the hillside windmills stationed opposite Rochester at Strood.
Erich Shanes cites this double page composition as one of several likely sources for a delicate watercolour study for Rochester, Stroud and Chatham, Medway of around 1830 (Tate D25231; Turner Bequest CCLXIII), itself related to the completed Picturesque views in England and Wales series Rochester, Stroud and Chatham, Medway engraving made by J.C. Varall in 1838 (Tate impression: T06127),2 based on Turner’s lost watercolour of about 1836.3 For more detailed lists of studies which consider the Medway at Rochester, and of pages identified by Shanes as contributing to finished works, see the entry for folio 6 verso (D17217).

Maud Whatley
January 2016

Finberg 1909, I, p.604.
Shanes 1997, p.73 under no.59.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.402 no.877, as destroyed 1955.

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