Joseph Mallord William Turner

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


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 120 × 203 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 59

Catalogue entry

Finberg was unsure whether this drawing, inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, 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. Wren’s Nest 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 and 60 recto (D22085, D22086, D22087; Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 57, 57a, 58); in the last of these the buildings at the bottom left may be those shown here from a different angle.
The rugged foreground here is perhaps indicative of quarrying. The drawing on folio 60 verso opposite (D22088; Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 58a) shows closer studies of the same buildings. 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

Finberg 1909, II, p.731.
See ‘Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve’, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, accessed 11 July 2013,; and ‘The Geology of Wren’s Nest Nature Reserve’, BGCS: The Black Country Geological Society, accessed 11 July 2013,

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