Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Valley with a Bridge and Buildings, Possibly Related to ‘Crossing the Brook’ or ‘Apullia in Search of Appullus’


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 88 × 113 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXV 14

Catalogue entry

This rough drawing is reproduced by Diana Cook and Dorothy Kirk alongside a comparable topographical study of Newbridge, Gunnislake and the Tamar Valley towards Calstock Church from the Vale of Heathfield sketchbook (Tate D10273; Turner Bequest CXXXVII 47a),1 which was in use for a number of years; the drawing in question was probably made in 1813, during the extended visit to Devon with which the present sketchbook is also associated.
The detailed Vale of Heathfield sketch is among several there which informed Turner’s painting Crossing the Brook, exhibited in 1815 (Tate N00497).2 The present ink study appears to be a rapid reprise of the general lines of the scene, including the prominent ‘Caledonia’ granary at the end of the bridge and the tower of Calstock Church on the skyline towards the left. Despite its apparently topographical aspect, the general lines are also suggestive of Turner’s painting Apullia in Search of Appullus (Tate N00495), exhibited at the British Institution in 1814.3 The overall composition of the latter was closely based on Claude Lorrain’s Jacob with Laban and his Daughters (Petworth House, Sussex), but with many variant details.
There are several rapid ink and pencil sketches in the present book which seem similarly to relate to Crossing the Brook and/or Apullia, on folios 15 recto, 63 verso, 64 verso, 65 verso–66 recto, 66 verso–67 recto, 67 verso–68 recto and 68 verso (D09911, D09976, D09978, D09980–D09986). There are also drawings of tall trees which may relate to those in the left foreground of Crossing the Brook, on folios 15 verso–16 verso, 17 recto and verso, 18 recto and 18 verso–19 recto (D09912, D09914–D09919). The sketches of hills running from folio 19 verso to folio 22 recto (D09920–D09924) may show prospects around Gunnislake which perhaps also relate to Crossing the Brook.
Cook and Kirk 2009, p.49.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.93–4 no.130, pl.123 (colour).
Ibid., pp.91–2 no.128, pl.134.
Blank, with the heavy ink from the recto showing through.

Matthew Imms
April 2014

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