Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Medway


Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 157 × 218 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCVIII P

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In his work for the public, Turner invariably animated his landscapes with appropriate, if sometimes theatrical, weather and lighting. This group of four watercolours were all designed to be engraved for his collection of views illustrating The Rivers of England, which was published between 1823 and 1827. For this type of work, Turner's own experience of the English climate was invaluable. Sometimes the weather he had endured in a particular spot left such a lasting impression that he was unable to record the place without reproducing the effect. Thus, in each of his three depictions of Arundel, he shows a rainstorm passing over the town, generally accompanied by a rainbow.

Gallery label, August 2004

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