Ouse Bridge, York

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Ouse Bridge, York

Turner sketched around York on two major occasions.  In 1797, these were some of the most detailed and important sketches that he made on this tour, and included the river and Ouse Bridge as well as St Mary's Abbey, the city walls and gates, and the Minster.

On Turner's second major trip in 1816, he was seeking more distant views of the city.  His principal interest was in the panoramic views available from two windmills, Acomb to the west and Lamel Hill to the south-east.  The former still stands (albeit in rather changed circumstances) and has recently been renovated.  However, he revisited St Mary's Abbey and made numerous sketches of Ouse Bridge and the river, as well as views of the Minster from the north and east. 

Wheelchair accessDogs accepted

Turner's Viewpoint

Turner made two key sketches of the Ouse Bridge as part of his 1797 tour, York: Ouse Bridge and Minster from Downstream ('Tweed and Lakes' sketchbook, Tate Gallery, Finberg number: XXXV 69) and York: Ouse Bridge and St William's Chapel from Immediately Upstream ('Tweed and Lakes' sketchbook, Tate Gallery, Finberg number: XXXV 72).

During his 1816 visit, Turner drew the Ouse Bridge from many different angles (see Ouse Bridge, York, 'Yorkshire 1' Sketchbook, Tate Gallery, Finberg number: CXLIV 15a to CXLIV 17). 

The bridge which opened in 1566, had five arches, with the central one 81 feet wide and more than 17 feet high.  However the bridge that Turner originally sketched was demolished in 1810 and the current bridge was not completed until 1821.  Standing on King's Staithe today, visitors can reflect on the contrast between the new Ouse Bridge and the old one of Turner's time.

Discover The Landscape

The Turner Trails plaque is on the north parapet of the Ouse Bridge, about halfway across.

York podstroll
Take a Turner Tour around York with your iPod, the 21st century version of a sketchbook/guide. The Turner Trails podstroll will work with any colour-screen iPod. Each podstroll comprises a sequence of images, specifically created for the iPod screen and arranged into a folder that can be easily added to your iPod.

The Venue


Ouse Bridge, Bridge Street, York, YO1 9SL

Map reference: SE603515

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Ouse Bridge is in the centre of York and is best viewed on foot from King's Staithe