Joseph Mallord William Turner

Reading from the River Thames


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 69 x 112 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXII 25 a

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, this slight sketch appears to focus on the tall tower and pinnacles of St Laurence’s Church, Reading, seen from the north; see also the similar view on folio 26 verso (D08324), inscribed with the name of the town. The rather indistinct foreground is presumably the banks of the River Thames, and the tower of Reading Minster (the Minster Church of St Mary the Virgin) is in the distance on the right. Both towers are seen from across the river in the 1805 Thames, from Reading to Walton book (Tate D05905; Turner Bequest XCV 1).

St Laurence’s is adjacent to the ruins of Reading Abbey, shown on folio 24 verso (D08320), under which other Reading views are discussed; the low profile on the left of the present sketch may also indicate the ruins, but a great deal of subsequent development obscures the view today.

Matthew Imms
September 2013

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