Joseph Mallord William Turner

Totnes, on the River Dart


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In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 161 × 230 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCVIII B

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In the early 1820s Turner began several engraving projects, each intended to illuminate a particular area, or aspect
of the British countryside. The most successful prints were for a sequence
of views called the Rivers of England. These were skilfully reproduced as black and white images through the printing process known as mezzotint.


This view of Totnes in Devon was one
of the last to be issued. It shows the challenges faced by Turner's engravers. All the watercolours in this series recreate subtle atmospheric effects, building up the forms in the image through tiny touches of colour.


Gallery label, August 2004

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