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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The River Medway at Upnor Castle c.1821

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 88 Recto:
The River Medway at Upnor Castle c.1821
Turner Bequest CXCIX 88
Pencil on white wove paper, 112 x 190 mm
Partial watermark ‘nard | 20’
Stamped in black ‘CXCIX – 88’ top left
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
As identified by Finberg, the drawing composed across this page, the facing sheet on folio 87 verso (D17501), and folio 86 verso (D17499), inverted relative to the foliation of the sketchbook, describes a view of the River Medway at Castle Upnor.1 The present portion of the study takes in a group of hulks and other vessels at right, with a distant view of Chatham Dockyards at left. A drawing on folio 43 verso (D17438) is often cited as the basis for the man of war in the finished watercolour.2 A detailed list of studies made at Chatham can be found in the entry for folio 22 recto (D17402).
This drawing is widely agreed to have informed the composition for the watercolour Upnor Castle, Kent of around 1831 (Whitworth Art Gallery) 3 engraved by J.B. Allen for the England and Wales series and published in 1833 (Tate impression T06102).4 For a more detailed account of the relationship between the Medway sketchbook drawing and the finished work, as well as for a list of related studies, see the entry for folio 87 verso (D17501).

Maud Whatley
January 2016

Finberg 1909, I, p.609.
Hartley 1984, p.49 under no.39.
Wilton 1979, p.399 no.847, reproduced.
See ibid.

How to cite

Maud Whatley, ‘The River Medway at Upnor Castle c.1821 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-upnor-castle-r1184780, accessed 24 May 2022.