Joseph Mallord William Turner

Chester Castle and St John the Baptist’s Church across the River Dee; Anglers in a Landscape


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 191 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXXIX 61 a

Catalogue entry

The subject was identified as ‘Chester’ 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 The view is north-east up the River Dee past Chester Castle; the view continues on folio 62 recto opposite (D22265), to the Old Dee Bridge and the tower of St John the Baptist’s Church, which collapsed in 1881.2 The subject is comparable with Turner’s 1794 drawing (Tate D40041; verso of Turner Bequest XXI L), the basis of an untraced watercolour3 engraved in 1796 as Chester (Tate impression: T05892). See also the views on the recto of the present leaf (D22263). For other views of Chester, see under folio 14 verso (D22176).
At the outer edge, with the page turned vertically, there is a slight study of anglers, denoted by the diagonals of their fishing rods, in a broad valley, perhaps with the arch of a bridge beyond. For other figure studies in this sketchbook, including other fishing subjects, see the entry for inside the front cover (D41053).

Matthew Imms
April 2014

A.J. Finberg, undated MS notes in a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.II, p.735; C.F. Bell, undated MS notes in another copy at the same location, vol.II, p.735.
See Steve Howe, ‘9. The Church of St. John the Baptist’, Chester: A Virtual Stroll around the Walls, accessed 24 October 2013,
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.311 no.93.

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like