Joseph Mallord William Turner

Weston Mill Bridge, near Plymouth


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 95 × 157 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXI 34

Catalogue entry

With the page turned horizontally, the bridge appears to be the one shown in an 1835 wood engraving of Weston Mill by G.P. Hearder (Westcountry Studies Library, Exeter), with its single arch and a wall strengthened by broad buttresses, while the buildings Turner lightly sketched beyond it also correspond quite closely. The site was in the countryside between St Budeaux and Ham, north of Plymouth Dock (later Devonport) and north-west of Plymouth itself.
The surrounding area it is now much developed, and although early twentieth century maps show a crossing at this point, modern roads have left the spot marooned, and the bridge over the stream leading running west to Weston Mill Creek and out into the Hamoaze (the Tamar Estuary) and the road it carried have gone. The bridge seems to have led north off Mowhay Road, south of the modern Weston Mill Drive and east of the Weston Mill Hill flyover. The drawing on folio 32 recto (D09251) may show the same bridge from the other side.
The subjects as far as folio 127 recto (D09358) are all identified or presumed sites within a few miles in and around Plymouth, suggesting a series of fairly short excursions.

Matthew Imms
April 2014

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