Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Buildings on or near Wren’s Nest Hill, Dudley

1830

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 120 × 203 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D22088
Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 58 a

Catalogue entry

Finberg was unsure whether this drawing showed Tamworth (see under folio 52 verso; D22072; Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 51c) or Dudley.1 The subject remains unconfirmed, but is possibly a group of buildings on the slopes of Wren’s Nest Hill, north-west of the centre of Dudley; if so, they do not survive. The hill was then subject to intensive limestone mining and quarrying for building stone and lime used in mortar and fertiliser and in the blast furnaces of the local iron industry.2 It is the viewpoint for the drawings on folios 59 recto and verso (D22085, D22086; Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 57, 57a) and the recto of the present leaf (D22087), where the buildings at the bottom left may be those shown here from a different angle. There are three separate studies, with the bottom one inverted relative to the other two.
The drawing on folio 61 recto opposite (D22089; Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 59) shows the same buildings in a wider setting with a rugged foreground perhaps indicative of quarrying. An earlier drawing, on folio 47 verso (D22064), may show another aspect of the same complex. Compare the sequence in the contemporary Birmingham and Coventry sketchbook (Tate D22416–D22425; Turner Bequest CCXL 49a–54 recto). For other views of Dudley see under folio 23 recto (D22016).

Matthew Imms
August 2013

1
Finberg 1909, II, p.731.
2
See ‘Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve’, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, accessed 11 July 2013, http://www.dudley.gov.uk/resident/environment/countryside/nature-reserves/wrens-nest-nnrwrens-nest-nnr/; and ‘The Geology of Wren’s Nest Nature Reserve’, BGCS: The Black Country Geological Society, accessed 11 July 2013, http://www.bcgs.info/pdf_files/wrens_nest_leaflet_2009.pdf.

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