Bridge and Cows

Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1807-01-20 Published

WAG 4475

About this object

This print, 'Bridge and Cows', is plate 2 of Turner's 'Liber Studiorum' series. It is an example of the 'Pastoral' category of landscape painting. It was published with the 1st part of the series on 20 January 1807.

Pastoral works of art and literature reflected the urban population’s envy for the idealized life of shepherds who worked and lived in the beautiful setting of the countryside.

This particular image was criticised by Turner’s most passionate supporter, John Ruskin (1819 – 1900), for its ‘feeling of decay’. This was probably a reflection of how ‘pastoral’ scenes had become unfashionable by that time.

The 'Liber Studiorum' illustrated Turner’s arguments for the supremacy of landscape painting. The title means ‘book of studies’ in Latin. It contained no written text, instead it was made up of individual mezzotint prints on paper. They were released in fourteen parts from around 1807 until 1819. Turner intended the 'Liber' to consist of 100 prints but only 71 were ultimately produced.

The prints reflected the five categories of landscape painting Turner believed existed: architectural, historical, marine, mountainous and pastoral. Turner wrote an initial on each work to indicate which category it belonged to.

Object specifics

  • Artist(s)
    Charles Turner (British, born:1774-07-31, died:1857-08-01)
    Joseph Mallord William Turner (British: English, born:1775-05-23 probably, died:1851-12-19)
  • Date
    1807-01-20 Published
  • Materials
    Mezzotint; Paper
  • Measurements
    image: 18.2 cm x 26.3 cm
  • Physical description
    In the centre a wooden bridge crosses a shallow stream with banks of trees. Children at the left foot of the bridge and at the waterside on the left. Cows wade in the water. A watermill can be seen behind the bridge in the middle distance.
  • Related people
    Charles Turner (Artist/maker, engraver) ; Joseph Mallord William Turner (Artist/maker)
  • Other number(s)
    WAG Inventory Number: 4475
  • Credit line
    Purchased by the Walker Art Gallery in 1874
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Collection
    From the Walker Art Gallery collections


Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: P
    Inscription method: Printed
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Above plate
Object view = Fine Art
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