As part of unpublished Turner research informed by local knowledge, Dr Bernard Richards suggested this is a view below Dudley Castle, comparing it with a subject by David Cox (1783–1859),1 perhaps Cox’s 1830’s Dudley Castle with Lime Kilns and Canal (Dudley Art Gallery),2 loosely comparable to Turner’s watercolour Dudley, Worcestershire of about 1832 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight),3 engraved in 1835 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impressions: T05097, T06113, T06114). However, while Cox’s landscape is conventional, with the kilns and canal in the foreground and the castle on the horizon, the subject of Turner’s rapid sketch here, made with the page turned vertically, is so uncertain that only his apparent inscriptions ‘Lime’ and ‘New Basin’ give clues as to a specific setting, which may be the Dudley Canal at Tipton, north of the castle. Turner’s broad hatching above what may be an archway or opening may even indicate that the sketch was made inside a tunnel; if so, whether the site was associated with a canal or local limestone mining and quarrying remains unclear.
Conversation with the author, 14 May 2013.
See William S. Rodner, ‘Turner’s “Dudley”: Continuity, Change and Adaptability in the Industrial Black Country’, Turner Studies, vol.8, no.1, Summer 1988, p.38, ill.8.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.400 no.858, pl.195.