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 × 187 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17346
Turner Bequest CXCVIII 81 a

Catalogue entry

Continuing with the subject explored on the previous page, folio 81 recto (D17345), here Turner describes a view of Rochester in Kent as observed from the southwest.1 At right is the distinctive tower of Rochester Castle, with the bridge across the river Medway clearly visible to its left. Turner seems likely to have recorded this view immediately prior to structural alterations made to the medieval bridge in the 1820s provoked by concerns about silt deposits in the riverbed.2 Much of the page is blank, and in fact very little attention is paid to the river itself in this drawing, which lends its focus to the architectural forms which shape the landscape.
For a list of the other pages in the present sketchbook which consider the subject of Rochester, see the entry for folio 6 verso (D17217).

Maud Whatley
January 2016

1
Finberg 1909, I, p.606.
2
‘The Bridges at Rochester’, The Rochester Bridge Trust, http://www.rbt.org.uk/bridges/index.htm, accessed 18 November 2015.

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