Joseph Mallord William Turner

The River Medway, at Rochester


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCVIII 83 a

Catalogue entry

With the page inverted relative to the foliation of the sketchbook, here Turner describes a scene at Rochester, as identified by Finberg.1 Towards the left the windmills at Strood stand out on the hillside, and in the centre of the scene Rochester Bridge straddles the River Medway. At far right the broad tower of Rochester Castle is described at the very edge of the page.
Erich Shanes cites this page as one of several likely sources for a watercolour study for Rochester, Stroud and Chatham, Medway produced around 1830 (Tate D25231; Turner Bequest CCLXIII), itself related to the completed Picturesque views in England and Wales series Rochester, Stroud and Chatham, Medway engraving made by J.C. Varall in 1838 (Tate impression: T06127),2 based on Turner’s lost watercolour of about 1836.3 For a comprehensive list of Rochester studies in the present sketchbook, and an indication of those pages identified by Shanes as contributing to finished work, see the entry for folio 6 verso (D17217).
Finberg 1909, I, p.606.
Shanes 1997, pp.72–3 under no.58 and no.59.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.402 no.877, as destroyed 1955.
Technical notes:
The top edge of this page is marked with a finger or thumb print. The red ink from Ruskin’s inscription on folio 83 recto (D17349) has soaked through in the top right corner, marking the paper there with a small pink stain.

Maud Whatley
January 2016

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