Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Bend of the River Medway, at Rochester

c.1821–2

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 113 × 187 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17223
Turner Bequest CXCVIII 9 a

Catalogue entry

Two drawings have been made on this page, each composed horizontally but with the sketchbook inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation in one instance.
The prospect rendered upright according to foliation depicts a bend in the river Medway, looking towards Rochester on the right from a vantage point which includes an impression of Strood to the left. To the immediate right of a line of bare tree trunks in the foreground it is possible to make out the shape of Rochester cathedral and castle, side by side in an otherwise gestural landscape.
A second sketch, made with the page inverted according to foliation, describes the same prospect, but elaborates on the landscape to the right of the castle and cathedral. These architectural landmarks appear towards the gutter on the left of the page, with distant hills extending further into the expanse of paper. Two windmills are marked by crosses, one on the right in the foreground and another to the immediate right of the castle. Turner uses the same brief motif on the recto (D17222). There is some overlap between the two renderings on this sheet, with the trees from the bottom drawing puncturing the view laid out, upside down, at the top.
For a list of further studies of the Medway at Rochester in this sketchbook, refer to the entry for folio 6 verso (D17217).

Maud Whatley
January 2016

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