Joseph Mallord William Turner

The River Medway, at Rochester

c.1821–2

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 113 x 187 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17343
Turner Bequest CXCVIII 80

Catalogue entry

Made with the sketchbook inverted according to its foliation, this and the facing page on folio 79 verso (D17342) describe a panoramic view of Rochester from across the River Medway at Strood, as identified by Finberg.1 This section of the composition expresses the northerly portion of the scene. Turner creates a detailed and evocative study of the topography and architecture as it stretches into the distance along the river, towards Chatham and Brompton. Erect masts stand tall along the bank towards the left, and at right vessels are described in progress on the river.
In the immediate foreground is one of the Strood windmills. For more information about the history and position of these windmills, see the entry for folio 10 recto (D17224). At far left, on the edge of the page, the distinctive steeple of All Saints Church at Frindsbury is picked out against the blank sky. See folio 58 verso (D17303) for another drawing in which it features. Also see folio 16 recto (D17390) of the Medway sketchbook.
For a list of the drawings in this sketchbook that describe Rochester and the River Medway, see the entry for folio 6 verso (D17217).

Maud Whatley
January 2016

1
Finberg 1909, I, p.606.

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