This is a view of Bridgnorth on the River Severn, downstream from Shrewsbury. In the centre is the church of St. Mary Magdalen, built in 1794 on designs by Thomas Telford. Turner visited Bridgnorth in 1794 on his second visit to Wales, continuing on to Llangollen, Chester and Flint. There are two drawings of the bridge and gatehouse at Bridgnorth in the 'Matlock' Sketchbook, the second of which was used for the engraving published in the Copper-plate Magazine, vol. II, pl. 6, 1 August 1795 (Turner Bequest, Tate Britain, XIX, pp. 19 and 20: see W.G. Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner R.A., London, vol. I, 1908, p. 3, no. 4, and A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London, 1909, vol. I, p. 29); a watercolour of the same composition is described by Rawlinson as 'beautiful in colour' but 'I do not know where it now is' (loc.cit.; this is probably the work listed by A. Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg and London, 1979, p. 311, no. 90, as 'Provenance and whereabouts unknown').
This watercolour is a completely different composition and indeed the bridge and gateway are not even shown. Stylistically it would seem to date from a few years later, circa 1798, and is apparently based on a small watercolour on card now attributed to Thomas Girtin. This comes from a group of such cards from the collection of Dr. Munro; most are in the Turner Bequest (CCCLXXIX) but this particular example, formerly in the Gilbert Davis collection, is now in the Henry E. Huntingdon Library and Art Gallery, San Marino (see Sotheby's sale catalogue, 1985; for the series of watercolours on card as a whole see A. Wilton, 'The "Monro School" Question: Some Answers', Turner Studies, vol. 4, no. 2, Winter 1984, pp. 11-14).
According to the 1985 sale catalogue, Andrew Wilton thought that the somewhat uncharacteristic figures in the foreground and the dark washes on the promontory on the right might have been added to Turner's watercolour by another hand.