Joseph Mallord William Turner

Clitheroe from the River Ribble at Edisford


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 225 × 329 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XLV 30 a

Catalogue entry

Turner used this drawing, made with the page turned horizontally, as the basis for the finished watercolour of Clitheroe from Eadsford Bridge (Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto),1 engraved in 1800 for Thomas Dunham Whitaker’s History of Whalley (Tate impression: T05930). Stanley Warburton points out that Turner may have chosen his viewpoint because of the strategic importance of the ford at this spot during the conflict between the Normans based at Clitheroe and invading Scots in 1138.2 Indeed, in this sketch Turner has omitted the bridge (which he included in his finished watercolour), as though he intended to recreate the scene as it was in the twelfth century. The town itself, dominated by the parish church of St Mary’s, is seen at the left, the Norman keep of Clitheroe Castle on its mound to the right. Pendle Hill is visible in the right distance.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Duplicated in Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.327 no.248, reproduced, as ‘Richmond Bridge, Yorks’, c.1798, as at Toronto, and p.332 no.290, as the Clitheroe subject, untraced.
See Stanley Warburton, Turner and Dr. Whitaker, exhibition catalogue, Towneley Hall Art Gallery & Museums, Burnley 1982, pp.26–7 under no.7.

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