Joseph Mallord William Turner

Dudley: The Castle and St Edmund’s Church from the South-East; the Spire of St Thomas’s Church

1830

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 120 × 203 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D22097
Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 63

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, Dudley Castle is seen across open ground from the south-east, with the outline of the tower of St Edmund’s Church below it towards the left, and a separate study of the spire of St Thomas’s, further to the left from this viewpoint, below. Modern developments make the viewpoint difficult to establish, but a sense of the view is possible from around Watsons Green Road and Wolverton Road on Kates Hill, overlooking Dudley’s Southern Bypass. There is a tiny thumbnail reprise of the composition framed by pencil lines at the bottom left.
Frank Milner notes that these drawings and that on folio 64 recto (D22095; Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 62) show that Turner ‘while sketching on the spot did not conceive Dudley as an industrial subject’, but used a ‘rural Claudian formula’ with a ‘centralised promontory ... above a valley with lollipop-like trees balancing to left and right’1 to evoke the idealised manner of Claude Lorrain (1604/5–1682), whom Turner so admired and so often emulated.2
For other views of Dudley see under folio 23 recto (D22016).

Matthew Imms
August 2013

1
Milner 1990, p.63.
2
See Butlin 1975, p.48, and Wilton 1975, p.66; and in general Ian Warrell and others, Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery, London 2012.

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