Joseph Mallord William Turner

Combe Martin Harbour


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 200 x 324 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXVI 4

Catalogue entry

The view is to the west across the small harbour at Combe Martin, Devon, with houses climbing what is now known as Seaside Hill and coastal cliffs to the north-west beyond. The general disposition of buildings remains similar today, although the prominent Fo’c’sle Inn now stands above the quay on the left. There are shorthand indications of what appear to be a horse, cart and figure(s) in the distance towards the right and other figures and carts around the beached boat.
There are further views on D08950 and D08951 (CXXVI 5, 5a), and in the smaller Devonshire Coast, No.1 sketchbook (Tate D08646; Turner Bequest CXXIII 147). The latter, featuring a prominent lime kiln, was the basis of Turner’s watercolour of about 1824 (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford),1 engraved in 1825 for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast (see the introduction to the 1811 tour), though its background may have been informed by the more detailed studies in the present sketchbook.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.354 no.476, reproduced; unspecified ‘drawings of Combe Martin’ in this sketchbook and elsewhere are mentioned.
Technical notes:
There are five sets of stitch holes near the left-hand edge. There is a small piece missing at the bottom right corner, matching similar losses to adjacently numbered leaves (D08946–D08948, D08950, D08951, D40294, D40295; CXXVI 1–3 and its verso, 5, 5a, and the verso of the present sheet) and to D08964 (CXXVI 18).

Matthew Imms
January 2011

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