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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Worcester Cathedral from the River Severn; Bridgnorth Castle and St Mary Magdalene's Church ?1831

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 84 Recto:
Worcester Cathedral from the River Severn; Bridgnorth Castle and St Mary Magdalene’s Church ?1831
Turner Bequest CCXXXIX 83
Pencil on white wove paper, 114 x 191 mm
Partial watermark ‘nard | 20’
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘[?Tight B... in Bar | R Porch work | Hoopers L... | Ordr Voc]’ top left, ascending vertically, and ‘BN’ left of centre, upside down
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘83’ top left, upside down
Stamped in black ‘CCXXXIX – 83’ top left, upside down
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The two Worcester views here are inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation. At the bottom right is a slight continuation of the view up the River Severn north-west of Worcester Cathedral on folio 83 verso opposite (D22304; Turner Bequest CCXXXIX 82a), with the spire of St Andrew’s Church and the tower of All Saints. The more substantial drawing at the bottom left is also a continuation of a similar view, from folio 82 recto (D22301; Turner Bequest CCXXXIX 81); Turner would have pushed back the latter and the intervening leaf to continue the view to the left along the riverfront across two thirds of the present page, with All Saints beyond and a separate study of St Andrew’s on the left. The studies relate to the watercolour Worcester of about 1834 (British Museum, London),1 engraved in 1835 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impression: T06117).
The reading and significance of Turner’s notes at the top left are somewhat uncertain. For other views of Worcester, see under folio 2 verso (D22154).
As Ian Warrell has noted,2 at the top left, the other way up from the Worcester views, is a sketch of the leaning ruins of Bridgnorth Castle (hence ‘BN’), with the classical St Mary Magdalene’s Church adjacent to the north-east. The slight drawing at the top left, also inverted, shows buildings with a bridge far below, and may be a view down to the River Severn from near the castle and church. For other views of Bridgnorth, see under folio 1 recto (D22151).

Matthew Imms
April 2014

Wilton 1979, p.401 no.862, reproduced.
Ian Warrell, notes from 1993 and later in Tate catalogue files.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Worcester Cathedral from the River Severn; Bridgnorth Castle and St Mary Magdalene’s Church ?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-cathedral-from-the-river-severn-bridgnorth-castle-r1148953, accessed 23 February 2020.