Joseph Mallord William Turner

Worcester across the River Severn; Sailing Boats


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 191 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXXIX 10 a

Catalogue entry

The main subject, inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, was confirmed as ‘certainly’ Worcester by A.J. Finberg (died 1939) and the watercolour and Turner scholar C.F. Bell (died 1966) in undated manuscript notes in copies of Finberg’s 1909 Inventory.1 It occupies two ranges, divided by a horizontal pencil line. At the top, the view runs south-east from the bridge over the River Severn in the centre of Worcester on the left. A little faint and rubbed, the landmarks appear to include the tower of All Saints Church, the cupola of St Nicholas’s, the tower of St Swithun’s, the spire of St Andrew’s and the tower of St Helen’s, fading out with the tower of Worcester Cathedral on the right. The cathedral is repeated at the left of the lower level, with the tower continued a little onto folio 11 recto opposite (D22169), above buildings on the riverfront. The viewpoint is now the Worcestershire County Cricket Club grounds, where a path runs along the wooded west bank.
At the bottom right, the other way up, is a rapid study of two sailing boats, with loose indications of a landscape, probably a wooded river bank, beyond. These may have been observed on the Severn at Worcester, or elsewhere on the tour. For other views of Worcester, see under folio 2 verso (D22154).
A.J. Finberg, undated MS notes in a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.II, p.733; C.F. Bell, undated MS notes in another copy at the same location, vol.II, p.733.
Technical notes:
Rubbing to the surface of the sheet, affecting the drawing, may be owing to the looseness of the sketchbook’s binding between this page, the outer face of one gathering, and D22169, the outer face of another.

Matthew Imms
April 2014

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