Joseph Mallord William Turner

The River Thames at Mortlake, Looking West in the Direction of Kew


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 113 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXIII 14 a

Catalogue entry

The River Thames is shown to the west up-river of the garden of ‘The Limes’, Mortlake. The two distinctive towers on the left are among brewery buildings since largely replaced by modern industrial equivalents;1 some of the houses along Thames Bank, in the centre of Turner’s view, survive, but the broad arches of the twentieth-century Chiswick Bridge have now terminated the prospect towards the right. Below is a slight continuation of trees.
This sketch was carefully transcribed in the distance of the painting Mortlake Terrace, the Seat of William Moffatt, Esq. Summer’s Evening, shown at the Royal Academy in 1827 (National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC);2 the main source for that subject is the drawing on folios 15 verso–16 recto (D18733–D18734). Whether by accident or design, the brewery buildings in the painting are largely obscured by converging tree trunks.
For more on the house, the painting and related studies, see the sketchbook’s Introduction.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

See ‘Mortlake Brewery’, Barnes and Mortlake History Society, accessed 25 September 2014,
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.147–8 no.239, pl.237 (colour).

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop