Joseph Mallord William Turner

Preston from Walton-le-Dale Near Preston, Lancashire


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXVI 8 a

Catalogue entry

Standing on the banks of the River Ribble at Walton-le-Dale Turner looked west towards Preston.1 The Church of St Leonard sits on the bank to the left of the present page (see folio 9 verso; D25779). The Ribble twists at this point to the north and can be seen on folio 9 (D25778; Turner Bequest CCLXVI 9) with the four arched bridge on the present page. This is the bridge over the Holland Wood Weir at Walton-le-Dale that can also be seen from the elevated position of Church Brow. There may be another view of Walton-le-Dale on folio 8 (D25776).
The skyline of Preston is dominated by factory chimneys (Richard Arkwright was born in Preston and during the industrial revolution the town became a centre for the cotton industry), although the spire of one church and the steeple of another can be seen above the bridge on folio 8 verso. In the foreground of the picture several figures are pulling a small boat up to the river bank.
There are further sketches of Preston from this position on folios 9 verso–13 (D25779–D25786). Turner’s coach must have stopped here as he had time to make eight or nine sketches from this view. As he had no commission to paint Preston he must have been taking the opportunity to collect views of a new place for his own reference. Perhaps he was struck by the industrial landscape. After Preston Turner made no sketches until he arrived in Kendal.

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

A passing reference is made to Turner having travelled through Preston in an exhibition catalogue, though no sketches are mentioned: Martin Butlin, Andrew Wilton and John Gage, Turner 1775–1851, exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy, London 1974, p.125 under cat.449

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