Joseph Mallord William Turner

A View over a Broad River


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 135 × 95 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XL 15 a

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, this slight sketch is probably a view of the River Severn taken from near the hamlet of Thornwell, close to where the Wye flows into the Severn below Chepstow. Beachley Point is visible at the left. The subject is continued on folio 16 recto opposite (D01489).
The drawing signals the moment at which Turner arrived in Wales, having crossed the Severn by the Aust ferry. It was a spot that remained important to him throughout his career; he made more detailed drawings of the view from the Wyndcliff, high above the shore, in the contemporary Hereford Court sketchbook (Tate D01262, D01335; Turner Bequest XXXVIII 12, 81) and was to design a plate for his Liber Studiorum showing the Junction of the Severn and the Wye (see the entry for the watercolour study: Tate D08132; Turner Bequest CXVII E), published in 1811 (Tate impressions: A00966, A00967). He repeated the subject towards the end of his career in an atmospheric late painting (Musée du Louvre, Paris)1.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.299–300 no.509, pl.511 (colour).

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