Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Hillside Road, with Rochester Castle and Bridge in the Distance


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 7 a

Catalogue entry

Here Turner explores two views of Rochester castle from a distance, observing the landscape from beyond a winding hillside road.1 In the topmost drawing the dark square of the castle stands out, swiftly filled with diagonal hatching which separates it from the blank expanses of rolling countryside and flowing water. The arches of Rochester Bridge are visible to the left of the castle. In the distance, brief, lightly drawn lines indicate Chatham and the horizon beyond. To the left a distinctive dwelling is stationed on the slope; Turner firmly presses his pencil into the page four times to indicate windows.
The same prospect is repeated below, but Turner has taken some steps backwards. The castle here is diminished in size, but remains hatched. More of the descending hillside on the left is revealed, and the rendering of Chatham is almost invisible in its light touch and brevity.
Several views of the Medway at Rochester are included in the Folkestone sketchbook. For a comprehensive list of these see the entry for folio 6 verso (D17217).
Finberg 1909, I, p.604.
Technical notes:
Thumb or finger prints mark the top right corner of this page.

Maud Whatley
January 2016

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