Joseph Mallord William Turner

Two Figures, One Carrying a Bundle; Old Houses and Bridge over a Stream at Spa


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 94 × 154 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 36 a

Catalogue entry

The principal image shows a layered array of houses lining the left and right banks of a stream at Spa, a small bridge between them. The spire of what presumably belongs to the Church of Saint-Rémacle can be seen protruding above the rooftops to the right. This sketch is related to the one on the opposite folio which depicts similar housing but which was taken far closer to the bridge (Tate D28112; Turner Bequest 37).
Drawn inversely to the scene at Spa are two figures positioned near to the periphery of the page. The pair appear to be in conversation, the figure at the left carrying a bundle over the shoulder. Turner has made brief inscriptions around them with notes such as ‘Wom 2 Vieu’ (possibly meaning two old women) and ‘W Lapel’ (white lapel). The inscription, ‘Savet’, is understood to refer to Sauvenière near Huy.1
Turner’s handling here is vigorous and swift. There appears to be a number of amorphous and isolated experiments in line and hatching techniques towards the left of the page.

Alice Rylance-Watson
May 2013

Powell 1991, Appendix, p.214.

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop