Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Interior of a Cannon Foundry


Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 247 × 347 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXXIII B

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Turner did not generally seek industrial subjects on his 1797 tour, preferring instead to concentrate on the conventionally picturesque subjects of ruins and cathedrals. The only sketches which can with any certainty be linked to the industrial processes then transforming the northern landscape are his views of mills, a view of a lead mine near Grasmere, and another of the newly-opened aqueduct at Lancaster. At Rotherham he deliberately selected a view of the parish church that allowed him to exclude the sprawling complex of Walker's Iron Foundry. However, since the factory manufactured munitions, it is possible that this watercolour depicts its interior.

Gallery label, September 2004

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