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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Bridgnorth from the North-East; St Mary Magdalene's Church, Bridgnorth; Blackfriars Bridge, Manchester ?1831

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 12 Recto:
Bridgnorth from the North-East; St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Bridgnorth; Blackfriars Bridge, Manchester ?1831
Turner Bequest CCXXXIX 12
Pencil on white wove paper, 114 x 191 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘[?26]’ top centre, ‘[D...]’ top right, ‘3 | W’ towards top right, ‘Doric’ bottom right and ‘Tuscan’ towards bottom right, all descending vertically
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘12’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCXXXIX – 12’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
On the left is a continuation of the view of Bridgnorth to the west across the River Seven from folio 11 verso opposite (D22170). With the page turned vertically, at the top is a view of the town’s St Mary Magdalene’s Church, as noted by Ian Warrell.1 The church, by engineer Thomas Telford (1757–1834), was begun in 1792;2 it is seen from the north-east (the church being unconventionally aligned north to south), with a continuation of its dome to the right and details of the stonework to the left. Turner has noted the classical orders of the architecture, and the number of windows along the east side. For other views of Bridgnorth, see under folio 1 recto (D22151).
The drawing in the middle of the page, separated from the others by pencil lines, shows Manchester. There is an almost identical view (Tate D25706; Turner Bequest CCLXV 36) among several of the town in the Berwick sketchbook, used on the 1831 tour to Scotland, covered by Thomas Ardill in the separate ‘Scotland 1831’ section of this catalogue. In his words, the subject is ‘cotton mills on the banks of the River Irwell at Manchester. The bridge at the right of the sketch is probably Blackfriars, which stands near to Manchester Cathedral (in Turner’s day, the Collegiate Church)’, apparently shown beyond to the north-east. The river is now lined with tower blocks. Turner has inscribed a number, probably ‘26’ above the mills, presumably to indicate windows or bays of the façade.
Along with views on Newcastle upon Tyne, the Manchester study links the sketchbook with the 1831 Scottish tour rather than the tour of the Midlands in the previous year with which it has traditionally been associated (see the sketchbook’s Introduction). There are other definite or possible Manchester views on folios 16 recto, 40 verso, 53 verso and 58 verso (D22179, D22225, D22248, D22258); see also folio 25 recto (D22194), and folio 85 recto (D22307; Turner Bequest CCXXXIX 84).

Matthew Imms
April 2014

Ian Warrell, notes from 1993 and later in Tate catalogue files.
See Nikolaus Pevsner, Shropshire, The Buildings of England, Harmondsworth 1958, p.80.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Bridgnorth from the North-East; St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Bridgnorth; Blackfriars Bridge, Manchester ?1831 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, April 2014, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, September 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-bridgnorth-from-the-north-east-st-mary-magdalenes-church-r1148817, accessed 18 September 2021.