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: 112 × 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCIX 27 a

Catalogue entry

Across this and the facing page on folio 28 recto (D17411), Turner produces a panoramic view of Rochester from a position on the northern bank of the River Medway, near Strood. Keenly recording the breadth of the landscape as well as its evocative details, the result is a neatly realised and elaborate composition.
The present page considers Rochester itself. Beyond the waterway in the foreground, which is populated with several lightly rendered craft, the town sprawls across the full width of the sheet. At left, the Cathedral is distinguished by its tall spire. To the right of centre, the tower of Rochester Castle sits as a broad cube before the river. At far right, and crossing the gutter onto the facing folio, is Rochester Bridge. In the background, gently undulating rural topography rolls into the distance, dipping towards the gutter of the page.
For more information about Turner’s ongoing relationship with Rochester, and how and where he described it within the pages of this sketchbook, see the entry for folio 18 recto (D17394).

Maud Whatley
January 2016

Read full Catalogue entry


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