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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Mersey from New Brighton 1831

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 2 Verso:
The Mersey from New Brighton 1831
Turner Bequest CCLXVI 2a
Pencil on white wove paper, 114 x 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
As in folios 1 verso–2 (D25763–D25764), the sketch across this page and folio 3 (D25766) shows a view of Liverpool and the Mersey from New Brighton to the west. Liverpool itself is rather roughly depicted, though it is likely that the two dome shapes at the left are St Paul’s Church and the Town Hall, with the spires of St Nicholas and St George to the right and several windmills to the left (see folio 7; D25774 for a clear view and more information). In the present sketch Turner is more interested in portraying shipping on the Mersey.
In 1831 Liverpool was one of the most important ports in Britain and one of the world’s greatest seaports. Turner captures some of this atmosphere in the group of boats of all sizes on this page. At the centre of the group is a steamboat. A few twisting lines in the foreground represent breaking waves on the beach of New Brighton which is depicted in the foreground on folio 3 where the sketch continues.
There is a sketch of sailing boats on the inside back cover of this sketchbook which is likely to have also been made at Liverpool (D41078).

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘The Mersey from New Brighton 1831 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, September 2009, 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-mersey-from-new-brighton-r1134132, accessed 22 June 2021.