Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Bedford and the River Great Ouse


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 325 × 562 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 121

Catalogue entry

Eric Shanes has tentatively linked this colour study with the finished watercolour Bedford of about 1829 (private collection),1 engraved in 1831 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impressions: T04578, T05087),2 showing the view west along the River Great Ouse to the Town Bridge. He has also compared it compositionally to the oil sketch formerly known as ‘Scene on the Banks of a River’,3 now Dieppe: The Port from the Quai Henri IV and possibly dated 1827–8 (Tate N03385).4
The Bedford identification is likely to remain unconfirmed, particularly as there are no pencil sketches currently identified with which to compare it as an intermediate stage towards the England and Wales watercolour. It has been tentatively suggested that Tate D25227 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 105) might be another study for the subject.
See also the introductions to the present subsection of identified subjects and the overall England and Wales ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which this work has been assigned.
There is another watercolour composition on the verso (D40262).

Matthew Imms
March 2013

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.397 no.831.
Shanes 1997, pp.96, 105.
Shanes 1997, pp.98, 100, 105.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.179 no.316, pl.319 (colour).

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like