Joseph Mallord William Turner

The River Medway from Upnor Castle

c.1821

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 112 × 190 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17392
Turner Bequest CXCIX 17

Catalogue entry

As identified by Finberg, on this page Turner records his view of the River Medway from a position on the south side of Castle Upnor on the western bank.1 This identification is presumably based not only upon the topographic prospect, but also takes into consideration a small portion of visible fortification or rampart at far left, close to the bottom of the sheet. The rest of the scene takes in a broad survey of the water, which is populated with boats and flanked with predominantly domestic dwellings. For more information about the drawings in this book which describe Upnor Castle, and an indication of its place in his oeuvre, see the entry for folio 87 verso (D17501).
Immediately above this is a second prospect, composed so close to the first as to merge with it in places. At left, next to the gutter, trees and shrubs give way to a clearing, in which a broad, cubic building is positioned. To the right of the architectural landmark, another area of dense forest is indicated with compact hatching, beyond which across the right of the sheet the horizon is largely bare, but for a cluster of buildings at centre.
At the top of the sheet two swiftly rendered sketches show additional topographic interest, the bottom example punctuated with houses and the sharp, tall sails of a small vessel.

Maud Whatley
January 2016

1
Finberg 1909, I, p.608.

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