on reverse of lining canvas in black ink: The Junction of the / THAMES and MEDWAY, from the / NOREBUOY, with a distant view / of SHEERNESS and the Isle of SHEPPY. / Painted by J.W.M. [sic] TURNER Esq r RA / In o [sic] Newington Hughes Esq.r.; below: No54
Purchased 1807, almost certainly from Turner's gallery, by Thomas Lister Parker [1779-1858], Brownsholme Hall, Yorkshire; (sale, 1808, bought in). (sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 9 March 1811, no. 29, bought in.) John Newington Hughes [-1848], Winchester, after 1826; (sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 14-15 April 1848, 2nd day, no. 147); (Thomas Rought); sold 3 May 1848 to Joseph Gillott, Birmingham; (sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 19-20, 26-27 April 1872, 4th day, no. 306); (Thos. Agnew & Sons, London); sold 1872 to Richard Hemming [died c. 1892], Bentley Manor, Bromsgrove, and London; by inheritance to his wife; sold 1892 to (Thos. Agnew & Sons, London); sold 1893 to (Wallis & Son, London); purchased 10 March 1894 through John G. Johnson by Peter A.B. Widener, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; inheritance from Estate of Peter A.B. Widener by gift through power of appointment of Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park; gift 1942 to NGA.
- Turner's gallery, 1807.
- Modern Works of Art, Birmingham Society of Artists, 1852, no. 37.
- Art Treasures of the United Kingdom: Paintings by Modern Masters, Art Treasures Palace, Manchester, 1857, no. 288.
- National Exhibition of Works of Art, Infirmory, Leeds, 1868, no. 1107.
- Forty-First Annual Exhibition of Selected High-Class Pictures, by British and Foreign Artists, French Galleries, (Wallis & Son), London, 1894, no. 26.
The canvas has been lined. The ground is off- white, thinly and smoothly applied. There are traces of a buff-colored imprimatura above the ground in some areas. The painting is executed in very thin, transparent glazes in the darks; the sky is more opaquely rendered; moderate impasto is used in the highlights, especially in the waves. X-radiographs reveal pentimenti in the rowing boat: the boat was originally 2 cm. longer at the bow; the figure in the stern, now leaning over the side of the boat, originally sat with his back to the spectator; a rowing figure in the center of the boat has been painted out; the figure at the bow of the boat originally sat facing the spectator. The picture is very abraded in numerous thinly painted areas, and has been extensively retouched with small, feathered repaints that have darkened considerably. The moderately thick natural resin varnish has discolored yellow-brown to a significant degree.
- Morning Post, 6 May 1807.
- Carey, William Paulet. Patronage and Progress of the Fine Arts. London, 1826: 115.
- Roberts, William. Pictures in the Collection of P.A.B. Widener at Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania: British and Modern French Schools, Philadelphia, 1915: unpaginated, repro.
- Paintings in the Collection of Joseph Widener at Lynnewood Hall. Intro. by Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, 1923: unpaginated, repro.
- Paintings in the Collection of Joseph Widener at Lynnewood Hall. Intro. by Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, 1931: 190, repro.
- Paintings and Sculpture from the Widener Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1948 (reprinted 1959): 96, repro.
- Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds., Great Paintings from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1952: 144, color repro.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 322, repro.
- Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 133.
- Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 2:368, color repro.
- Cooke, Hereward Lester. Painting Lessons from the Great Masters. London, 1968: 44, fig. 29.
- National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 120, repro.
- Brown, David. "Turner, Callcott and Thomas Lister Parker: New Light on Turners' `Junction of the Thames and the Medway' in Washington." The Burlington Magazine 117 (1975): 719-722.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 354, repro.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: no. 599, color repro.
- Butlin, Martin, and Evelyn Joll. The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner. 2 vols. New Haven and London, 1977. (2d rev. ed., 1984): 1:no. 62; 2:pl. 73.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 413, no. 584, color repro.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 406, repro.
- Chapel, Jeannie. "The Turner Collector: Joseph Gillott, 1799-1872." Turner Studies 6 (1986): 44-45.
- Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 199, color repro.
- Hayes, John. British Paintings of the Sixteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1992: 264-268, repro. 265.
- Warrell, Ian, ed. J.M.W. Turner. Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Dallas Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. London and Washington, D.C., 2007: 242.
- Pergam, Elizabeth A. The Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition of 1857: Entrepreneurs, Connoisseurs and the Public. Farnham and Burlington, 2011: 313.