Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ouse Bridge, York, from the Guildhall Water Gate


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 154 × 97 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXLIV 15 a

Catalogue entry

This is the left half of a double-page spread continued to the right on folio 16 (D10897), opposite, recording the view of the Ouse Bridge, York, from the left bank, upstream, outside the Water Gate of the Guildhall. To the left two figures are bringing materials, possibly barrels, to the quayside.
The Ouse Bridge recorded here was built in the twelfth century to replace a wooden structure and acquired its large central span in the mid-sixteenth century. It was frequently recorded by artists,1 especially as it became dilapidated towards the end of the eighteenth century, and in 1816 work began on its replacement. Turner sketched it on his first visit to Yorkshire in 1797 (Tate D01071, D01074; Turner Bequest XXXV 69, 72) and returned to it in 1817 (Tate D12633; Turner Bequest CLIX 65a), shortly before it was taken down in 1818.

David Hill
January 2009

See Barbara Wilson and Frances Mee, ‘The Fairest Arch in England’, Old Ouse Bridge York, and its Buildings, the Pictorial Evidence, York Archaeological Trust, 2002.

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