South Bank, Richmond

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South Bank, Richmond

South Bank is a lovely area of open fields south of the River Swale, between the waterfalls and Mercury Bridge (also known as Station Bridge).

Turner stayed in Richmond twice. During Turner's first visit in 1797, his exposure to the northern landscape and weather began to transform him from architectural draftsman to poet of the landscape sublime.

His second visit in 1816 resulted in a number of watercolours and one obvious feature of his four later watercolours of Richmond is that they all feature a young girl, accompanied by a dog.  It has been speculated whether Turner was thinking of the contemporary song 'The Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill.'

Dogs accepted

Turner's Viewpoint

In 1816, Turner set out to make a circuit of the easterly and southerly aspects of the town and castle making detailed sketches from above the river to the east, two more detailed sketches from the fields to the south-east and a final view from immediately south of the old Green bridge looking up at the whole south range of the castle.

Each of these aspects resulted in a finished watercolour.  The view from the east is now at the Victoria and Albert Museum (Richmond, Yorkshire circa 1818, Victoria & Albert Museum, Wilton number: 559), that from the south-east at the British Museum (Richmond, Yorkshire c.1826, The British Museum, Wilton number: 791), while that from the south is untraced, lost since John Ruskin sold it sometime before 1878, and is perhaps one of the most intriguing cases of disappeared Turner watercolours.  The sketches from the south are still available however (Richmond Castle from the South, 'Yorkshire 5' sketchbook, Tate Gallery, Finberg number CXLVIII 12a and Richmond Castle and Mill, 'Yorkshire 5' sketchbook, Tate Gallery, Finberg number CXLVIII 41a).

Discover The Landscape

Richmond Audio Tour

Follow in the footsteps of one of England's greatest artists to explore the routes that JMW Turner took around Richmond with our Turner Trails audio tours, which will work with any mp3 player or iPod, as well as mobile phones and PDAs that can play mp3 audio.

For a shorter walk, retrace Turner's route from The Station. Turn right out of The Station car park and walk down the steps from the bridge to the river bank. At the bottom of the steps, turn left under the Mercury Bridge (new since Turner's time) and go through the two kissing gates. The footpath through the fields, which belong to the Richmondshire Landscape Trust, follows the river and provides extensive views of the castle - like Turner's -  and the town.

You can also visit the Turner Trails panel, which is located in Trinity Church Square in the middle of Richmond.


Saturday 1 October 2011
Richmond, Turner and the Picturesque

The Venue


South Bank, Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL10 4LH

Map reference: NZ175006

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Directions to South Bank, Richmond:

4 miles SW of the A1 at Scotch Corner. Follow the A6108 to Richmond. From the town centre, take the A6136 towards Catterick Garrison for about 1/2 mile.

Parking with easy access to South Bank is available at The Station, Station Yard, Richmond DL10 4LD