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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 139 x 215 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXV a 64

Catalogue entry

Eric Shanes has noted this sketch as a source for the watercolour Clovelly Bay of about 1822 (National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin),1 engraved in 1824 for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England (see the concordance of the series in the 1811 tour introduction). He also lists the drawings on folios 43 recto, 44 recto, 45 recto and 65 recto (D41322–D41324, D41347), and one in the contemporary Devonshire Coast, No.1 sketchbook (Tate D08766; Turner Bequest CXXIII 223).2 The latter defines the overall composition, complete with foreground cliffs and donkeys, while the Cornwall and Devon studies provide supplementary details of the village and coastline.
The present sketch shows Clovelly’s pier and a few of the houses on the hillside, looking to the north-west from the beach, and may have informed the distant view of the village in the watercolour. At the right-hand edge is Lundy Island, some sixteen miles beyond. There is a similar view from further away on folio 65 recto (D41347). For other Clovelly views see under folio 43 recto (D41322).
As discussed in the introduction, the pages of this ‘sketchbook’ appear to have originally been loose sheets, and are not recorded in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory of the Bequest, although he subsequently noted the subject correctly as ‘Coast near Clovelly’ in a manuscript listing,3 while C.F. Bell described it in his own notes as ‘Precipitous coast with fishing-village’.4 Figures usually corresponding to Finberg’s MS catalogue page numbers, which differ from Bell’s sequence, are inscribed on the verso of most sheets.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.354 no.472, reproduced.
Shanes 1981, p.152.
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.356, as CXXV(a) 78.
C.F. Bell, MS addenda, [after 1928], tipped into a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, p.356B, as CXXVa 64.
Technical notes:
The sheet is slightly wrinkled, possibly as a result of exposure to damp.
Blank, save for inscription by Edwin Fagg in pencil ‘178 | 78’ bottom right. There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

Read full Catalogue entry


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