Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Study for ‘Walton Bridges’


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 115 × 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XCIX 71

Catalogue entry

Finberg was probably right to associate this drawing with Walton Bridges (National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne), and Butlin and Joll agree that it ‘may ... be connected’.1 The position of the twin bridges (as if from downstream on the north bank of the Thames) and the grouping of trees and figures on the left are broadly similar, but there is a trio of larger trees at right that was not repeated in the painting. There are no other confirmed subjects west of the City of London in this sketchbook and the drawing also stands out technically, being more finished, shaded with hatching and having the character of a composition study. Turner sketched the picture in outline in the Hesperides (2) sketchbook (Tate D05852; Turner Bequest XCIV 5a) and the present drawing was probably not made on the spot. As the picture seems to have been bought by the Earl of Essex from Turner’s Gallery in 1807, and may even, according to Finberg, have already been shown there in 1806,2 a study for it would be among the earliest datable subjects in the sketchbook.

David Blayney Brown
March 2009

Butlin and Joll 1984, p.50 no.63 (pl.71).
Alexander J. Finberg, The Life of J.M.W. Turner, R.A. Second Edition, Revised, with a Supplement, by Hilda F. Finberg, revised ed., Oxford 1961, pp.125, 467, no.101.

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