Joseph Mallord William Turner

Taddiport Bridge on the River Torridge, with Great Torrington Beyond


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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 18

Catalogue entry

Presumably because of the complete disruption of the original sequence of Devon and Yorkshire sketches in this book (see the Introduction), Finberg thought this was a view in the Wharfe Valley1 in the latter county, but it actually shows Taddiport Bridge over the River Torridge in North Devon, with Great Torrington on the hill beyond to the north-east. About five miles south-east of Bideford (see the contemporary Devon Rivers, No.1 sketchbook; Tate D09561; Turner Bequest CXXXII 76), Great Torrington, the site of a Civil War battle in 1646, stands on a ridge high above the Common sloping down to the north bank of the river.
The water-mills on the opposite bank have not survived later industrial developments, although the small gazebo or belvedere at the far on the skyline still stands beside the bowling green on the site of the medieval castle off Castle Street.2 There is similar view of the Torridge Valley on the verso (D09810), while folio 80 recto (D09829; Turner Bequest CXXXIV 36) may possibly show a nearby scene. Other drawings made on the same occasion are in the Devon Rivers, No.1 book (see under Tate D09566; Turner Bequest CXXXII 80).

Matthew Imms
July 2014

Finberg 1909, I, p.381.
See Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, Devon, The Buildings of England, revised ed., New Haven and London 2002, p.463.

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