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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Views of the River Medway, near Rochester c.1821

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 17 Verso:
Views of the River Medway, near Rochester c.1821
Turner Bequest CXCIX 17a
Pencil on white wove paper, 112 x 190 mm
Partial watermark ‘rnard | 20’
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This page displays a variety of scenes observed along the River Medway to the northeast of Rochester, as identified by Finberg.1 These include a small collection of lines at far right, largely illegible in isolation. They comprise the western end of Rochester Bridge when considered as part of the drawing on the facing page, folio 18 recto (D17394). In addition, the sketch across the top of the page indicates this same section of the bridge at the centre of the composition, with the pointed spire of Rochester Cathedral towards the right. On the horizon, a windmill stands on the crest of a hill. The drawing beneath this is less sharply handled, although the broad architectural form at right could represent Rochester Castle. The rest of this view is predominantly characterised by voluminous trees.
Two sketches along the lower half of the page record views of the waterfront on the approach to Rochester. One appears to describe a section of the ramparts of the Castle which surround the tower. The second drawing, made across the bottom of the sheet, shows the rooftops of buildings overlooking the water.
For more information about the prevalence of Rochester in this sketchbook, and a comprehensive list of related studies, see the entry for folio 18 recto (D17394).

Maud Whatley
January 2016

Finberg 1909, I, p.608.

How to cite

Maud Whatley, ‘Views of the River Medway, near Rochester 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-views-of-the-river-medway-near-rochester-r1184670, accessed 25 February 2021.