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 There are four sketches, made with the page turned vertically and separated by horizontal pencil lines; the individual subjects have been noted by Ian Warrell.2
At the top is Chester Castle from the south; second is a view east from there to the Old Dee Bridge. Together they are 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 view extending across the verso and folio 62 recto (D22264, D22265).
Next, the castle is seen to the north-east through the arch of the incomplete Grosvenor Bridge, where Turner has numbered the architectural features. At the bottom are the Watertower and Bonewaldesthorne’s Tower at the north-west corner of the city walls, looking south-east; they are also seen on folio 60 verso opposite (D22262), and again on folio 65 recto (D22271).
For other views of Chester and the construction of the Grosvenor Bridge, see under folio 14 verso (D22176).
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.
Ian Warrell, notes from 1993 and later in Tate catalogue files.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.311 no.93.