Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Wooded Landscape, with a Church by a Bridge, Probably East of Plymouth


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 95 × 157 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXI 84

Catalogue entry

Among adjacent views of Plymouth from the countryside east of it, this study, made with the page turned horizontally, is probably another view in the area, although the church tower and bridge in the valley on the left currently remain unidentified. The drawings as far as folio 127 recto (D09358) are all identified or presumed sites within a few miles in and around Plymouth, suggesting a series of fairly short excursions.
John Ruskin’s description of the subject1 as the setting for Turner’s major painting Crossing the Brook, exhibited in 1815 (Tate N00497),2 is speculation based on loose compositional similarities. He thought the drawings on folios 118 recto (D09345) and 251 recto (D09428; Turner Bequest CXXXI 162a) also related to the painting. There are precise studies of the Tamar Valley west of Plymouth which were used for the painting, in the Vale of Heathfield sketchbook (Tate D10271, D10273, D10274; Turner Bequest CXXXVII 46a, 47a, 48), probably also used in 1813. See also folio 68 recto (D09291).
Cook and Wedderburn 1904, p.566.
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).
Blank, save for inscription in blue pencil ‘206’ centre.

Matthew Imms
April 2014

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