Dudley, Worcestershire

watercolor scene of docked boats at river at night with city on hill in background

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851)
Dudley, Worcestershire, ca. 1832
For Picturesque Views in England and Wales
Watercolor on paper
11 9/16 x 17 in. (29.3 x 43.2 cm)
National Museums Liverpool, Lady Lever Art Gallery
© National Museums Liverpool, Lady Lever Art Gallery

Located in the Midlands of central England — also known as the Black Country due to the pollution — Dudley in Turner’s time was undergoing rapid transformation into an industrial hub. The aligned smokestack and church steeple structure the image around the contrast of past and present. Turner subsumes the entire scene in a haze of smog by wetting the paper before applying watercolor, creating a view of industry that is at once romantic and oppressive.

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