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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner A Bridge and its Reflection c.1820-40

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
A Bridge and its Reflection c.1820–40
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 370
Watercolour on white wove paper, 352 x 510 mm
Stamped in black ‘CCLXIII – 370’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
As Eric Shanes has noted, with this quick study comprising little more than a grey silhouette ‘it is impossible even to make out whether we are looking at a bridge or simply a reflection of one’,1 on balance it seems likely that the image is to be read with the six arches uppermost, towards the top right, across a wide expanse of water reflecting the sky. Alternatively, when inverted, other forms may suggest a distant wooded skyline and high, blue-tinged clouds in the sky itself.
Without further comment, presumably on stylistic grounds, Shanes has associated this unidentified if not spontaneous subject with the watercolours Turner made between about 1812 and 1824 to be engraved for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England.2
There are two scenes with bridges in more conventional landscape settings in this section: Tate D25223, D25235 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 101, 113).
Shanes 1997, p.31; see also pp.101, 102.
Ibid., p.102; see Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, pp.350–5 nos.445–489.
Technical notes:
The underlying wash does not reach to the edge of the sheet at the right and below, and there are rough dabs and strokes of grey at the top left, presumably to test the colour.
Blank; laid down.

Matthew Imms
December 2015

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘A Bridge and its Reflection c.1820–40 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, December 2015, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, November 2016, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-a-bridge-and-its-reflection-r1183228, accessed 18 April 2024.