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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Ivy Bridge, on the River Erme at Ivybridge 1814

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 45 Recto:
Ivy Bridge, on the River Erme at Ivybridge 1814
Turner Bequest CXXXIII 45
Pencil on white wove paper, 110 x 178 mm
Part watermark ‘ows | 12’
Inscribed by John Ruskin in blue ink ‘45’ bottom right, descending vertically, and ‘294’ bottom left, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘CXXXIII 45’ bottom left, descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The narrow medieval Ivy Bridge still carries Blachford Road across the River Erme in the centre of Ivybridge, a few miles east of Plymouth. It can be seen upstream to the north from the footpath beside Harford Road, just above the eastern bank (on the right here). The sketch was recognised by Ruskin as the basis for the watercolour Ivy Bridge (Tate D18157; Turner Bequest CCVIII X),1 engraved in 1816 for The Rivers of Devon, albeit not published until 1821.2 Elaborations in the finished version include ducks, a washing tub a coach preparing to leave in the distance, with a figure waving to it from the bridge, which may have an indistinct forerunner at that point in the present sketch. Eric Shanes has noted the 1811 Devonshire Coast, No.1 sketchbook as another source3 (see Tate D08654, D08655; Turner Bequest CXXIII 153, 153a).
Ian Warrell has reproduced a photograph showing this page, folio 37 recto (D09713) and five miscellaneous studies from other sketchbooks, mounted together as frame 16 in Ruskin’s 1858 selection of Turner Bequest works exhibited at Marlborough House, London.4
The sketches on folios 46 recto and 47 recto (D09723, D09724) possibly also show Ivybridge, and there is a view on the outskirts on folio 43 verso (D09720).
Wilton 1979, p.350 no.442, reproduced.
See Catalogue of the Sketches and Drawings by J.M.W. Turner, R.A. Exhibited in Marlborough House in the Year 1857–8 in Cook and Wedderburn 1904, p.277; see also Finberg 1909, I, p.378; Wilton 1979, p.350; Michael Spender and Malcolm Fry, Turner at the Bankside Gallery: Catalogue of an Exhibition of Drawings & Water-colours of British River Scenes from the British Museum, exhibition catalogue, Bankside Gallery, London 1980, p.102 under no.46; Shanes 1981, p.152, and 1990, pp.37 under no.15, 283 note 14; Perkins 1990, p.26; and Smiles 1995, pp.104, 120 note 26.
Shanes 1981, p.152, and 1990, pp.37 under no.15, 283 note 14; see also Shanes, Joll, Warrell and others 2000, p.102.
Warrell 1995, pp.28, 30 note 112, fig.17.
Technical notes:
The sheet has darkened considerably through prolonged display, except for the edges formerly protected by the mount. As with the sketches on folios 46 recto and 47 recto (D09723, D09724), the pencil work is coarser than most of the careful topographical studies up to this point in the sketchbook.

Matthew Imms
July 2014

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Ivy Bridge, on the River Erme at Ivybridge 1814 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, July 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-ivy-bridge-on-the-river-erme-at-ivybridge-r1147273, accessed 24 October 2021.