Joseph Mallord William Turner

Bridgnorth: Views including the Castle, St Mary Magdalene’s Church and St Leonard’s Church

?1831

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 191 x 114 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D22286
Turner Bequest CCXXXIX 73 a

Catalogue entry

Most of the eight or so studies here were made with the page turned vertically, and separated by pencil lines. At the top left is the exception; inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the rapid landscape sketch shows buildings above a valley, with two illegible words to the left and possibly one or two more within the drawing. The subject is possibly Bridgnorth, as with other sketches on this page, the general subject was identified as such by A.J. Finberg (died 1939) and the watercolour and Turner scholar C.F. Bell (died 1966) in undated manuscript notes in copies of Finberg’s 1909 Inventory,1 where ‘a limestone crag, probably Ilam Tor’ was suggested as one of the subjects, possibly in an attempt to read Turner’s note. Ilam Rock is in the Peak District, the subject of much of Turner’s work in this sketchbook (see the Introduction), though there seems no particular reason to assume that it is represented on this page.
At the top right are the leaning ruins of Bridgnorth Castle, with St Mary Magdalene’s Church beyond to the north-east. Across the middle of the page is a view south down to the bridge on the River Severn from the churchyard of St Leonard’s. The two slight sketches below may be variations. At the bottom are three views of the tower of St Leonard’s, which was substantially rebuilt in the Victorian period.2 For other views of Bridgnorth, see under folio 1 recto (D22151).

Matthew Imms
April 2014

1
A.J. Finberg, undated MS notes in a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.II, p.736; C.F. Bell, undated MS notes in another copy at the same location, vol.II, p.736; confirmed by Ian Warrell in notes from 1993 and later in Tate catalogue files.
2
See Nikolaus Pevsner, Shropshire, The Buildings of England, Harmondsworth 1958, p.79.

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