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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The River Medway, at Rochester c.1821-2

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 81 Recto:
The River Medway, at Rochester c.1821–2
Turner Bequest CXCVIII 81
Pencil on white wove paper, 113 x 187 mm
Partial watermark ‘T Edm | 18’
Inscribed by Turner ‘[?R...]’ towards bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CXCVIII – 81’ top left, upside down
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Made with the page inverted according to the foliation of the sketchbook, the sketch on this page describes a bend in the river Medway at Rochester in Kent, as ascertained by Finberg.1 To the right of centre the imposing tower of Rochester Castle stands out from the otherwise blank urban sprawl in which it is situated. Turner looks down at the scene, and trees flank his view on both sides. The river itself swerves through the landscape, beginning towards bottom right and snaking across the page in a serpentine form. The handling is loose, plotting broad shapes rather than specific detail. The prospect is similar to other studies in the present sketchbook which deal with Rochester. A list of studies which encompass the same subject matter can be found in the entry for folio 6 verso (D17217).

Maud Whatley
January 2016

Finberg 1909, I, p.606.

How to cite

Maud Whatley, ‘The River Medway, at Rochester c.1821–2 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, January 2016, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, February 2017, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-the-river-medway-at-rochester-r1184619, accessed 04 December 2021.