Joseph Mallord William Turner

The River Thames and Caversham Bridge, near Reading, from Upstream; Close-Up of the Bridge from Midstream


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 259 × 367 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XCV 41

Catalogue entry

This is a left-hand page from the sketchbook. For Caversham views in the sketchbook see D05905; Turner Bequest XCV 1. In addition to views of the Thames valley from Caversham towards Reading, Turner made this quite detailed study of the old Caversham Bridge from just upstream, where Hill suggests that he might have moored his boat. As Turner shows, the bridge was a decrepit mixture of Norman, Gothic and wooden arches, the latter, on the right, spanning a wider gap made by demolishing part of the old, narrow-spanned structure to allow wider barges to pass through. The bridge standing today was built in 1924. Among other details observed here, a laden wagon crosses the bridge from the left, in the direction of Reading. If the atmosphere of this drawing is rustic-picturesque, that of a rough oil sketch of the same subject (Tate N02697)1 is almost classical, with the arches of the bridge treated in a more regular, schematic manner; in the foreground, Turner added cattle watering.
Butlin and Joll 1984, p.117 no.162 (pl.162).
David Blayney Brown
Febrary 2009

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