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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Tamworth and the River Tame Bridges from near Fazeley, Staffordshire c.1830

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Tamworth and the River Tame Bridges from near Fazeley, Staffordshire c.1830
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 61
Watercolour on white wove paper, 357 x 523 mm
Inscribed in red ink ‘61’ bottom right (now faint)
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram towards bottom centre
Stamped in black ‘CCLXIII – 61’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Eric Shanes has identified this colour study as showing Tamworth, Staffordshire, from the south, based on a page with two variant pencil studies in the 1830 Kenilworth sketchbook (Tate D22074; Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 52a), and suggests it as an undeveloped design for Turner’s Picturesque Views in England and Wales.1 A watercolour showing a nearer view of Tamworth Castle, Staffordshire of about 1830 (private collection),2 was engraved in 1832 for England and Wales (Tate impression: T04598), and there are two identified colour studies relating to it (Tate D25268, D25306; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 146, 184).
As described by Shanes, the present composition shows the three arches of the River Tame bridge in the middle distance, carrying the old main road (Watling Street) west to Fazeley, with the aqueduct carrying the Coventry Canal over the river beyond; on the horizon is the pale silhouette of St Editha’s Church, in the centre of Tamworth, although there is little to indicate Tamworth Castle, shown a little to its west in the pencil sketches, which show other details not incorporated in the colour sketch.3 The valley beyond the bridge is now obscured by trees.
See also the introductions to the present subsection of identified subjects and the overall England and Wales ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which this work has been assigned.
Shanes 1997, pp.70, 95, 104.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.399 no.844, reproduced.
See Shanes 1997, p.70.
Technical notes:
Shanes notes that Peter Bower ‘has surmised’ that the sheet, albeit without a watermark, dates from 1828.1
Shanes 1997, p.92 note 55.1.
Blank, save for inscriptions: stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram above ‘CCLXIII – 61’; and in pencil ‘AB 93 P’ and ‘CCLXIII 61’ bottom right.

Matthew Imms
March 2013

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Tamworth and the River Tame Bridges from near Fazeley, Staffordshire c.1830 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2013, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-tamworth-and-the-river-tame-bridges-from-near-fazeley-r1144291, accessed 25 June 2024.