Joseph Mallord William Turner

Cheddar Gorge: High Rock from near Horseshoe Bend

1811

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 222 x 183 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D41380
Turner Bequest CXXV b 7

Catalogue entry

Looking west, High Rock is seen on the left, from the bend south-west of the Horseshoe Bend on the road leading through Cheddar Gorge. There are what seem to be similar views on folios 2 recto, 4 recto and 6 recto (D41375, D41377, D41379). Folios 1 recto–8 recto (D41374–D41381) are all views of Cheddar Gorge, most apparently made in a concentrated area around the Horseshoe Bend.
As discussed in the introduction, the pages of this ‘sketchbook’, which appear to have originally been loose sheets, are not recorded in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory of the Bequest, although he subsequently noted the subject as ‘Rocks’ in a manuscript list,1 while C.F. Bell described it in his own notes as ‘Rocky gorge’.2 Figures corresponding to Finberg’s MS catalogue page numbers, which differ from Bell’s sequence, are inscribed on the verso of each sheet.
Although this page and folio 8 recto (D41381) are listed in the ‘Catalogue’ checklist of James Hamilton’s exhibition catalogue Turner and the Scientists, where they are described as ‘Devon’ views and as no.106 and fig.121,3 it appears from Tate registrars’ records that folio 6 recto (D41379) – the work actually reproduced – was exhibited. It would not in any case have been feasible to exhibit two successive rectos at once.
1
A.J. Finberg, MS addenda, [circa 1928–39], tipped into a copy of his A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, opposite p.357, as CXXV(b) 14.
2
C.F. Bell, MS addenda, [after 1928], tipped into a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, p.356C, as CXXVB 7.
3
James Hamilton, Turner and the Scientists, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1998, p.141.
Technical notes:
The sheet is wrinkled, possibly as a result of exposure to damp. There are glue stains at the corners, showing through from the verso, and some slight spotting.
Verso:
Blank, save for inscription by Edwin Fagg in pencil ‘217 | 14’ top right, ascending vertically; there is a notch cut out of the stub to which the leaf is attached, so as not to obscure these numbers. There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet.

Matthew Imms
May 2010

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