In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 78 × 118 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXVI 263

Catalogue entry

This previously unidentified view was almost certainly taken at the Belgian city of Bruges, which Turner visited on his journey from Ghent to Ostend between 6 and 7 September. The Minnewater lake is depicted on the folio opposite (Tate D20065; Turner Bequest CCXVI 262a) and on Tate D19887–D19888; Turner Bequest CCXVI 168–168a in this sketchbook. A similar cylindrical tower with conical roof appears in both drawings: perhaps a medieval water tower. Figures are shown walking by the banks of the canal. To the left of the tower the top of a building with a traditional crow-stepped gable comes into view. There is also an inscription reading ‘De Van Waw’ at bottom centre. This does not translate directly into Flemish. Turner may be incorrectly transcribing a name here, perhaps attempting to render ‘Van Der Waw’ or ‘Walle’, for example. The word ‘Waw’ may also be an incorrect spelling of ‘Wal’ (‘Wallen’ in plural) which means ‘quay’ in Flemish. This could be a reference to some canal-side location in Bruges.1
For other drawings of Bruges see Tate D12705–D12713, D19268, D19272–D19278; Turner Bequest CLX 2v–7a, CCXIV 216, 218–221.

Alice Rylance-Watson
June 2014

Information from correspondence with Chris De Backer, Ghent

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