Turner sketch shows key town route in early 1800s

The sketch of a section of Morpeth town centre by J.M.W. Turner in 1809. Image courtesy of the National Gallery of Art.
The sketch of a section of Morpeth town centre by J.M.W. Turner in 1809. Image courtesy of the National Gallery of Art.

A sketch of Morpeth by a renowned artist in 1809 is now available to view in detail online.

And after seeing the artwork that was drawn by Joseph Mallord William Turner, better known as JMW Turner, a historian from the town has made an appeal for information about a crest and an important person in the family tree of Emily Wilding Davison.

The link to the sketch was sent to Carolyn Collette, Professor Emerita of English at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, USA, by her editor at the University of Michigan Press who knew of Morpeth because of her edition of Emily’s writings which it published in 2013.

It is available on the website of the National Gallery of Art, located in Washington DC.

Mrs Collette and her husband David lived in Newgate Street, Morpeth, from 2003 to 2011 and during that time she became friends with Maureen Howes, a retired genealogist. Therefore, she sent the link to the Loansdean resident.

Mrs Howes spent 10 years painstakingly researching her book Emily Wilding Davison – A Suffragette’s Family Album.

Of the sketch, she said: “It is a wonderful scene of what I believe to be the original two arched stone Chantry Bridge that is now the pedestrian footbridge.

“I enlarged the Inn sign in the Chantry area and it was a naively painted Percy Crest, so it could have been known as the Percy Arms.

“The Andersons, an extensive family of builders, slaters and brick makers, had recently arrived in Morpeth and they had a big impact on the town. In the sketch, I saw what I believe was their home on the south side of the bridge.

“John Anderson (born in 1754 in Simonburn) was Emily’s great-grandfather and I hope someone will have details about his first wife, who was her great-grandmother.”

To see the sketch and also zoom in to see particular features, go to www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/Collection/art-object-page.10645.html