Joseph Mallord William Turner

Brixham and Torbay


View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 75 x 117 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXIII 55 a

Catalogue entry

Finberg’s incorrect reading of the last letter of Turner’s inscription led to his misidentification of the subject and its neglect by subsequent authors in relation to Turner’s watercolour Tor Bay, from Brixham of circa 1816–17 (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge),1 engraved for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast (see the concordance of the series in the 1811 tour introduction). While the harbour at Bridport (i.e. West Bay; see folios 47 verso and 57 recto opposite (D08452, D08471; CXXIII 47a, 55b)) looks onto open sea, here the coast of Torbay is seen to the north, as it is in the drawing on folio 54 verso (D08466) inscribed ‘Torbay’.
The present view is superficially similar to the more detailed study in the Corfe to Dartmouth sketchbook (Tate D08863; Turner Bequest CXXIV 48), but was actually made from further west, looking north and including the Eastern Quay, a shorter pier within the harbour on the near side of the King’s Quay. Turner may have preferred the effect from further east, whereby he could avoid cluttering his composition with two similar piers.
The viewpoint of the present drawing is almost identical to that in William Daniell’s aquatint of Brixham for A Voyage Round Great Britain, published in 1825 (Tate impression: T02994).

Matthew Imms
June 2011

Wilton 1979, p.353 no.468, reproduced.

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