J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner A Bend of the River Medway, at Rochester c.1821-2

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 9 Recto:
A Bend of the River Medway, at Rochester c.1821–2
Turner Bequest CXCVIII 9
Pencil on white wove paper, 113 x 187 mm
Stamped in black ‘CXCVIII – 9’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Continuing from the facing page on folio 8 verso (D17221), this sketch depicts a view of the Medway that includes Strood, Chatham, and Rochester.1 This part of the drawing predominantly describes Rochester, distinctive for its cathedral and castle which stand close to one another towards the gutter on the left of the sheet. In the immediate foreground Turner has marked a large cross to represent one of the hillside windmills stationed opposite Rochester at Strood.
Erich Shanes cites this double page composition as one of several likely sources for a delicate watercolour study for Rochester, Stroud and Chatham, Medway of around 1830 (Tate D25231; Turner Bequest CCLXIII), itself related to the completed Picturesque views in England and Wales series Rochester, Stroud and Chatham, Medway engraving made by J.C. Varall in 1838 (Tate impression: T06127),2 based on Turner’s lost watercolour of about 1836.3 For more detailed lists of studies which consider the Medway at Rochester, and of pages identified by Shanes as contributing to finished works, see the entry for folio 6 verso (D17217).

Maud Whatley
January 2016

Finberg 1909, I, p.604.
Shanes 1997, p.73 under no.59.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.402 no.877, as destroyed 1955.

How to cite

Maud Whatley, ‘A Bend of the River Medway, at Rochester c.1821–2 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, January 2016, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, February 2017, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-a-bend-of-the-river-medway-at-rochester-r1184496, accessed 24 May 2022.