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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Wearmouth Bridge, Sunderland, from Upstream 1817

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 5 Recto:
Wearmouth Bridge, Sunderland, from Upstream 1817
Turner Bequest CLVII 5
Pencil on white wove paper, 116 x 185 mm
Part watermark ‘J Wh | 18’
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘5’ bottom right (now very faint)
Stamped in black ‘CLVII – 5’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The cast-iron Wearmouth Bridge at Sunderland is viewed looking downstream from the west; for its construction and history, see the entry for folio 3 recto (D12321), which shows it from the opposite direction. There is another version of the present view, but from a lower position on the bank to focus on the industrialised waterfront, on folio 4 recto (D12323), including the funnel-shaped glassworks kiln seen again here on the near side of the bridge below the distant church tower, apparently that of Holy Trinity. An early photograph of the original bridge by a member of the Backhouse family shows much the same view (Tyne & Wear Museums).1
Finberg mistakenly identified the bridge’s setting as Newcastle;2 the correct identification has been made independently of the present author by Juliet Horsley of Tyne & Wear Museums.3 This is the last of a series of Sunderland sketches beginning on folio 1 recto (D12318).

Matthew Imms
February 2010

Reproduced at Imagine: Tyne & Wear Collections online, accessed 11 August 2009, http://www.imagine.org.uk/details/index.php?id=TWCMS:J586.
Finberg is followed by Eric Shanes, Turner’s England 1810–38, London 1990, pp.103, 284 note 75.
Email correspondence with Ian Warrell, 18 June 2008, Tate catalogue files.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Wearmouth Bridge, Sunderland, from Upstream 1817 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, February 2010, 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-wearmouth-bridge-sunderland-from-upstream-r1139321, accessed 28 November 2020.