Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Interior of a Tilt Forge

?1798

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 174 x 125 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D01735
Turner Bequest XLII 60

Catalogue entry

The drawing is continued on folio 31 recto opposite (D01736; Turner Bequest XLII 61). Finberg suggested that the scene here is a belfry,1 but as Turner scholar C.F. Bell pointed out,2 this is a foundry. It has been established that it is in fact a tilt forge,3 which was principally used in the welding of iron. It is possible that Turner made this drawing at the great iron works of Cyfarthfa, which he had been commissioned to draw by Anthony Bacon, son of its founder; see the Cyfarthfa sketchbook (Tate D01629–D01632; Turner Bequest XLI 1–4). James Hamilton relates this subject to that of the iron foundry recorded in a watercolour associated with Turner’s 1797 North of England tour (Tate D00873; Turner Bequest XXXIII B).4

Andrew Wilton
March 2013

1
Finberg 1909, I, p.104.
2
Undated MS note by C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain, I, p.104.
3
See Lyles 1989, p.34
4
See Hamilton 1998, p.47.

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