Joseph Mallord William Turner

Polson Bridge, with Launceston Castle in the Distance


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In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 179 × 254 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXIV 34

Catalogue entry

Polson Bridge is about a mile and a half east of Launceston on the River Tamar. The rather makeshift-looking bridge is here seen from the east, with Launceston Castle on the skyline. It has since been replaced but the original structure is shown clearly in Joseph Farington’s 1813 engraving Poulton Bridge and Launceston (impression: Government Art Collection, London). On the verso (D09827) is what appears to be a continuation from the right-hand edge of the present drawing. A similar view appears in the contemporary Devon Rivers, No.1 sketchbook (Tate D09607; Turner Bequest CXXXII 115).
There is a view from the other side on folio 77 recto (D09825; Turner Bequest CXXXIV 33). The bridge is mentioned in a note in the Devon Rivers, No.2 sketchbook (Tate D09732; Turner Bequest CXXXIII 51a). For closer views of Launceston Castle and the surrounding town, see under folio 70 recto (D09873; Turner Bequest CXXXIV 72).

Matthew Imms
July 2014

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