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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner A River Bank with a Bridge and Trees c.1825

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 18 Recto:
A River Bank with a Bridge and Trees c.1825
Turner Bequest CCXII 18
Watercolour on white wove paper, 114 x 188 mm
Part watermark ‘lee | 19’
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘18’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCXII – 18’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This is one of a sequence of twenty-five recto pages of watercolour landscape, sea and sky compositions between folio 9 recto (D18609) and folio 34 recto (D18638), many of which evoke quiet Thames Valley scenes with water in the foreground; for a checklist and general comments, see the sketchbook’s Introduction.
While the bridge and silhouetted trees are treated in slight but relatively conventional fashion, the rapidly applied pigment in the foreground has been skimmed across the paper surface and has gathered in globules before drying; Eric Shanes has noted of the colour studies in this sequence: ‘In many of them Turner took advantage of the slight resistance of the paper to certain pigments’ to create ‘speckling effects’ which can add ‘enormous sparkle’.1 Compare the effect of the drawn outlines of the classical bridge on folio 20 recto (D18623).
Eric Shanes, Turner’s Watercolour Explorations 1810–1842, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997, p.65 under no.48.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘A River Bank with a Bridge and Trees c.1825 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, December 2014, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, April 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-a-river-bank-with-a-bridge-and-trees-r1172738, accessed 22 May 2024.