Joseph Mallord William Turner

Barnstaple Bridge


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 90 × 152 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXII 70

Catalogue entry

Eric Shanes has recognised the sketch on folio 66 recto (D09550) as a view of Barnstaple Bridge, with its sixteen arches over the River Taw (which Finberg misidentified as the twenty-four-arched bridge at nearby Bideford).1 Shanes relates it to a watercolour study (Tate D25443; Turner Bequest CCLXIII), which also incorporates details from the verso of the present leaf (D09555; see below for further discussion). The drawings in between, on this page and folios 67 recto, 68 recto and 69 recto (D09551–D09553), noted by Finberg as the ‘same bridge’ are therefore also identifiable as of Barnstaple. However, two drawings of a similar bridge on folio 79 recto and verso (D09564, D09565) do indeed, as Finberg suggested, show Bideford, as the latter sketch is annotated ‘24’.2
Unusually, the present drawing appears to have been continued on the verso (D09555), as there are signs of slight vertical creasing about a quarter of the way in from the outer edge of the leaf suggesting that Turner folded the present face temporarily in order to continue the composition on the right-hand half of the back.
For other views of Barnstaple see under D09550.

Matthew Imms
June 2014

Finberg 1909, I, p.374.
Shanes 1997, pp.59, 92 note 2 under no.40; for the watercolour, see p.58 no.39, reproduced (colour).

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like

In the shop