Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Mersey from New Brighton


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXVI 2 a

Catalogue entry

As in folios 1 verso–2 (D25763–D25764), the sketch across this page and folio 3 (D25766) shows a view of Liverpool and the Mersey from New Brighton to the west. Liverpool itself is rather roughly depicted, though it is likely that the two dome shapes at the left are St Paul’s Church and the Town Hall, with the spires of St Nicholas and St George to the right and several windmills to the left (see folio 7; D25774 for a clear view and more information). In the present sketch Turner is more interested in portraying shipping on the Mersey.
In 1831 Liverpool was one of the most important ports in Britain and one of the world’s greatest seaports. Turner captures some of this atmosphere in the group of boats of all sizes on this page. At the centre of the group is a steamboat. A few twisting lines in the foreground represent breaking waves on the beach of New Brighton which is depicted in the foreground on folio 3 where the sketch continues.
There is a sketch of sailing boats on the inside back cover of this sketchbook which is likely to have also been made at Liverpool (D41078).

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

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