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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Worcester across the River Severn; Sailing Boats ?1831

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 10 Verso:
Worcester across the River Severn; Sailing Boats ?1831
Turner Bequest CCXXXIX 10a
Pencil on white wove paper, 114 x 191 mm
Partial watermark ‘R Bar | 18’
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘All Sain[...]’, ‘[?E of T...]’ and ‘S Andrew’ above churches top centre
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The main subject, inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, was confirmed as ‘certainly’ Worcester by A.J. Finberg (died 1939) and the watercolour and Turner scholar C.F. Bell (died 1966) in undated manuscript notes in copies of Finberg’s 1909 Inventory.1 It occupies two ranges, divided by a horizontal pencil line. At the top, the view runs south-east from the bridge over the River Severn in the centre of Worcester on the left. A little faint and rubbed, the landmarks appear to include the tower of All Saints Church, the cupola of St Nicholas’s, the tower of St Swithun’s, the spire of St Andrew’s and the tower of St Helen’s, fading out with the tower of Worcester Cathedral on the right. The cathedral is repeated at the left of the lower level, with the tower continued a little onto folio 11 recto opposite (D22169), above buildings on the riverfront. The viewpoint is now the Worcestershire County Cricket Club grounds, where a path runs along the wooded west bank.
At the bottom right, the other way up, is a rapid study of two sailing boats, with loose indications of a landscape, probably a wooded river bank, beyond. These may have been observed on the Severn at Worcester, or elsewhere on the tour. For other views of Worcester, see under folio 2 verso (D22154).
A.J. Finberg, undated MS notes in a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.II, p.733; C.F. Bell, undated MS notes in another copy at the same location, vol.II, p.733.
Technical notes:
Rubbing to the surface of the sheet, affecting the drawing, may be owing to the looseness of the sketchbook’s binding between this page, the outer face of one gathering, and D22169, the outer face of another.

Matthew Imms
April 2014

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Worcester across the River Severn; Sailing Boats ?1831 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, April 2014, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, September 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-worcester-across-the-river-severn-sailing-boats-r1148814, accessed 28 October 2020.