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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Figures on Steps by a Thames Bridge, Possibly at Richmond c.1825

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 7 Recto:
Figures on Steps by a Thames Bridge, Possibly at Richmond c.1825
Turner Bequest CCXII 7
Pencil on white wove paper, 188 x 114 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘Child crawling up for his | [...] the fruit W’ top right
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘7’ top right, ascending vertically
Stamped in black ‘CCXII – 7’ top right, ascending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
With the page turned vertically, Turner has used the top third for a scene on a flight of steps beside a substantial stone bridge, with two figures standing or leaning beside with an object such as a bag or basket at their feet while another appears to ascend with a child ‘crawling up’ according to Turner’s partially illegible inscription. If the last word is indeed ‘fruit’, the figures below may be selling it. The setting may be at Richmond upon Thames, where there are steps from the east bank of the River Thames, rising to buildings on the north side of the bridge. Many of the drawings in this sketchbook depict the Thames in the vicinity of Richmond (see the Introduction), and the idealised watercolour on folio 20 recto (D18623) may be a capriccio based on the bridge.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Figures on Steps by a Thames Bridge, Possibly at Richmond 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-figures-on-steps-by-a-thames-bridge-possibly-at-richmond-r1172723, accessed 22 May 2024.