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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Bridge over the River Camel at Wadebridge, Looking North 1811

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 5 Recto:
The Bridge over the River Camel at Wadebridge, Looking North 1811
Turner Bequest CXXV a 5
Pencil on white wove paper, 141 x 215 mm
Inscribed by C.F. Bell in pencil ‘5.’ top right
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CXXV.A – 5’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner’s viewpoint is the south bank of the River Camel, looking downstream to the medieval bridge, shown from the opposite bank on folio 4 recto (D41279). The one-arched bridge in the foreground here is shown in the distance in that drawing.
Little remains specifically identifiable today. The smaller bridge has been replaced by a later structure and the right bank of the stream joining the Camel at this point is now a car park off Jubilee Road, from which there is an open prospect of the Camel bridge and the hill to the north beyond. The prominent building on Turner’s skyline appears to be Gonvena House, a five-bay mansion of about 1790,1 now obscured by trees.
As discussed in the introduction, the pages of this ‘sketchbook’ appear to have originally been loose sheets, and are not recorded in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory of the Bequest, although he subsequently noted the subject as ‘Another view of same place’ as the view now bound as folio 4 recto (D41279: ‘Bridge with 13 arches showing, & bldgs. on either side’) in a manuscript listing,2 while C.F. Bell mistakenly described it in his own notes as ‘Bridge at Looe, Cornwall’.3 There are views of Looe in the contemporary Devonshire Coast, No.1 and Ivy Bridge to Penzance sketchbooks (Tate; Turner Bequest CXXIII and CXXV respectively); see under Tate D08887 (Turner Bequest CXXV 17a) for details.
Figures usually corresponding to Finberg’s MS catalogue page numbers, which differ from Bell’s sequence, are inscribed on the verso of most sheets.
‘Gonvena House, Wadebridge’, British Listed Buildings, accessed 17 February 2011, http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-67838-gonvena-house-wadebridge.
A.J. Finberg, MS addenda, [circa 1928–39], tipped into a copy of his A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, opposite p.356, as CXXV(a) 48.
C.F. Bell, MS addenda, [after 1928], tipped into a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, p.356A, as CXXVa 5.
Technical notes:
The sheet is slightly wrinkled, possibly as a result of exposure to damp.
Blank, save for inscriptions: inscribed by C.F. Bell in pencil ‘Looe Cornwall’ bottom left; inscribed by Edwin Fagg in pencil ‘148 | 48’ bottom right. There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘The Bridge over the River Camel at Wadebridge, Looking North 1811 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, July 2011, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-the-bridge-over-the-river-camel-at-wadebridge-looking-north-r1137428, accessed 12 July 2020.