Joseph Mallord William Turner

Bowes Church; and a Sketch of Three Sailing Boats


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Catalogue entry

Turner used the inside back cover of this sketchbook on two separate occasions. At the centre of the page is a sketch of a building labelled ‘Bowes’. This depicts the church St Giles in the village of Bowes near Barnard Castle in County Durham. The view is from the south with a separate study of the east window. Turner included the church in his vignette illustration to volume 9 of Sir Walter Scott’s Poetical Works: Bowes Tower, circa 1832 (watercolour, Bowes Museum, UK),1 where it is again seen from the south.
The second sketch, drawn at the outer edge of the page with the book turned to the left, depicts three sailing boats seen bow on as they sail towards us. The only coastal subject in this sketchbook is the port of Liverpool (see folio 2 verso; D25765), so it is possible that this is the place depicted by the faint outlines of buildings seen behind the boats. The domed building may be the Town Hall, and the spires at the left may be St Nicholas, St George and St Thomas as seen in Turner’s sketch on folio 7 of this sketchbook (D25774).

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.429 no.1087.

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