Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Bridge over the River Camel at Wadebridge, Looking West


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 141 × 215 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXV a 4

Catalogue entry

The view is from the north bank of the River Camel, looking downstream to the medieval bridge, which originally had seventeen arches of which thirteen are visible today after several campaigns of widening and rebuilding.1 Little else remains identifiable from between the later buildings on Egloshayle Road. The sketch on folio 5 recto (D41280) shows the same face of the bridge, but from the opposite bank, near the small bridge shown here on the left. There are distant views of Padstow, near the mouth of the Camel, from near Wadebridge on folios 30 recto and 86 recto (D41306, D41368).
As discussed in the introduction, the pages of this ‘sketchbook’ appear to have originally been loose sheets, and are not recorded in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory of the Bequest, although he subsequently noted the subject as ‘Bridge with 13 arches showing, & bldgs. on either side’ in a manuscript listing,2 while C.F. Bell mistakenly described it in his own notes as ‘Bridge at Looe, Cornwall’.3 There are views of Looe in the contemporary Devonshire Coast, No.1 and Ivy Bridge to Penzance sketchbooks (Tate; Turner Bequest CXXIII and CXXV respectively); see under Tate D08887 (Turner Bequest CXXV 17a) for details.
Figures usually corresponding to Finberg’s MS catalogue page numbers, which differ from Bell’s sequence, are inscribed on the verso of most sheets.
See ‘Wadebridge Ancient Bridge’, Engineering Timelines, accessed 15 February 2011,
A.J. Finberg, MS addenda, [circa 1928–39], tipped into a copy of his A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, opposite p.356, as CXXV(a) 47.
C.F. Bell, MS addenda, [after 1928], tipped into a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, p.356A, as CXXVa 4.
Technical notes:
The sheet is slightly wrinkled, possibly as a result of exposure to damp.
Blank, save for inscriptions: inscribed by C.F. Bell in pencil ‘Looe Cornwall’ bottom left; inscribed by Edwin Fagg in pencil ‘148 | 47’ bottom right. There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop