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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Dudley: The Castle, Priory Hall and St Thomas's Church from Wren's Nest Hill 1830

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 60 Recto:
Dudley: The Castle, Priory Hall and St Thomas’s Church from Wren’s Nest Hill 1830
Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 58
Pencil on white wove paper, 120 x 203 mm
Partial watermark ‘nard | 20’
Inscribed by John Ruskin in blue ink ‘58’ bottom left, upside down
Stamped in black ‘CCXXXVIII – 58’ top left, upside down
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Finberg was unsure whether this drawing showed Tamworth (see under folio 52 verso; D22072; Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 51c) or Dudley.1 As part of unpublished Turner research informed by local knowledge, Dr Bernard Richards has confirmed it as a Dudley subject, suggesting that lime workings are shown in the foreground.2 Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the view is to the south-east, with the outline of Priory Hall (or the adjacent priory ruins) on the right with the spire of St Thomas’s Church beyond, and Dudley Castle on the skyline at the centre. The viewpoint is Wren’s Nest Hill, then subject to intensive limestone mining and quarrying for building stone and lime used in mortar and fertiliser and in the blast furnaces of the local iron industry.3 There are similar views on the folio 59 recto and verso (D22085, D22086; Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 57, 57a). Compare the sequence in the contemporary Birmingham and Coventry sketchbook (Tate D22416–D22425; Turner Bequest CCXL 49a–54 recto).
For other views of Dudley see under folio 23 recto (D22016).

Matthew Imms
August 2013

Finberg 1909, II, p.731.
Conversation with the author, 14 May 2013.
See ‘Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve’, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, accessed 11 July 2013, http://www.dudley.gov.uk/resident/environment/countryside/nature-reserves/wrens-nest-nnrwrens-nest-nnr/; and ‘The Geology of Wren’s Nest Nature Reserve’, BGCS: The Black Country Geological Society, accessed 11 July 2013, http://www.bcgs.info/pdf_files/wrens_nest_leaflet_2009.pdf.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Dudley: The Castle, Priory Hall and St Thomas’s Church from Wren’s Nest Hill 1830 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, August 2013, 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-dudley-the-castle-priory-hall-and-st-thomass-church-from-r1148728, accessed 27 November 2020.