Joseph Mallord William Turner

Tamworth and the River Tame Bridges from near Fazeley, Staffordshire


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 120 × 203 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 52 a

Display caption

In the top drawing Turner depicted Tamworth Castle and church as viewed from the south. In the foreground is the bridge that still carries the London-Holyhead road (or Watling Street) over the Tame. Beyond it is the triple-spanned Coventry Canal aqueduct bridge. At the extreme left-edge is the Fazeley-Tamworth road bridge that crosses the Coventry Canal in turn. The same scene is repeated more distantly in the drawing below, while at the lower-left the near end of the Watling Street bridge is drawn in detail. For the watercolour elaborated from these studies see no.54.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

Eric Shanes has identified the two variant sketches as showing Tamworth from the south, relating them to a watercolour study (Tate D25183; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 61) which he proposes as an undeveloped design for Turner’s Picturesque Views in England and Wales.1 For Turner’s England and Wales watercolour and other views of the town, see under folio 52 verso (D22072; Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 51c).
As described by Shanes, the sketches here show the three arches of the River Tame bridge carrying the old main road (Watling Street) west to Fazeley, with the aqueduct carrying the Coventry Canal over the river beyond; on the horizon of each is the outline of St Editha’s Church, with Tamworth Castle a little to its west. Other details were not incorporated in the broad colour study. A separate sketch of the bridge, made with the page turned vertically, is at the bottom left;2 the valley beyond is now obscured by trees. There is a sketch with the aqueduct in the foreground on folio 54 verso (D22076; Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 53a).

Matthew Imms
August 2013

See Shanes 1997, pp.70, 95, 104.
See Shanes 1997, p.70.

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