Joseph Mallord William Turner

Fishing under the Bothwell Bridge on the River Clyde, Lanarkshire; and Other Sketches


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIX 33 a

Catalogue entry

There are three sketches on this page. The largest sketch, drawn across the centre of the page, depicts Bothwell Bridge over the River Clyde in Lanarkshire. Seen from the west side of the bridge on the south bank of the Clyde we look up to the underside of the four ribbed arches with triangular buttresses between and across the water to the Town of Bothwell. On the other side of the bridge is the site of the 1679 Battle of Bothwell Bridge. In the foreground at the left are two men dressed in bonnets and capes or long coats fishing. A small dark shape under the second bridge arch to the right may also be a figure as in folio 33 (D26323). This is the last in a series of sketches of the bridge; see folio 31 (D26309) for references.
With the sketchbook turned to the left, near the page gutter, is a sketch of a view along a winding river with a shrub-covered riverbank at the left. The sketch is inscribed with a word that looks like ‘Hobbins’. This is part of a series of sketches of Bothwell Castle on folio 34 (D26325).
With the sketchbook inverted from the main sketch is a view of a castle and church spire. The castle resembles Bothwell Castle with its south-east tower as seen from the south (see folio 29; D26315), and the church tower is a good match for Bothwell Parish Church (see folio 31; D26319). The church, however, stands nearly two miles to the south of the castle making this suggestion impossible. One solution is offered by David Wallace-Hadrill who suggested that this could be an imaginary landscape.1 Alternatively the church and castle may be separate sketches that appear as one, or they are as yet unidentified buildings. The inscription ‘R D[...]’ has not been deciphered.

Thomas Ardill
October 2010

David Wallace-Hadrill, [CCLXIX Checklist], [circa 1991], Tate catalogue files, unpaginated MS.

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