Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches of Liverpool from Birkenhead


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 59 × 96 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXV 52 a

Catalogue entry

The sketches across this page and folio 53 (D25737) depict a town from across a river. The same town is depicted on folio 3 verso of this sketchbook (D25648) and has been likened to a view of Liverpool in the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border sketchbook (Tate D25773–D25774; Turner Bequest CCLXVI 6a–7). Distinctive features on the present page are the dome and spire in the top sketch, which closely resemble the dome of Liverpool Town Hall with its statue of Britannia (or Minerva) on top, and the spire of the Parish Church of St Nicholas.
The sketch across the centre of the page includes buildings, boats and a beach in the foreground which may be at Birkenhead. The spire of the church beyond may be that of St Martin-in-the-Fields, which is no longer extant. At the bottom of the page is a sketch of a wharf with the masts of boats which is likely to be Prince’s Dock. All the sketches continue on folio 53.

Thomas Ardill
May 2010

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