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Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Pen and ink, graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 200 x 277 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by Henry Vaughan 1900
Reference
D08172
Turner Bequest CXVIII R

Catalogue entry

Provenance:
...
Bought from Henry Dawe by Charles Stokes by 1848, 15 guineas
Bequeathed by Stokes to Hannah Cooper, 1853
Exchanged 6 October 1854 together with Kingston Bank (Tate D08177; Vaughan Bequest CXVIII W) via Thomas Griffith
...
Henry Vaughan by 1878
Engraved:
(see main catalogue entry)
Turner’s design, engraved for the Liber Studiorum but not published, shows Crowhust Park, East Sussex, about three miles from the Channel coast between Hastings and Battle. He had made drawings of the house and estate, and the landscape southwards to the coast beyond at Bexhill in the Views of Sussex sketchbook (Tate D10327, continued on D10328; Turner Bequest CXXXVIII 8, 9) in preparation for a summery, sunlit watercolour with sheep basking in the foreground near a temporarily-abandoned wheelbarrow and spades, Pevensey Bay, from Crowhurst Park (private collection)1 engraved in 1816 for a short series of Views in Sussex; Crowhurst was the residence of Henry Pelham, Crown Commissioner of Customs, but Turner’s Sussex patron Jack Fuller, who commissioned the watercolours for the series, ‘owned considerable property in the vicinity’.2
For the Liber design, Turner focused in on the central group of trees, cutting out two thirds of the composition both horizontally and vertically, changed the season to deep winter and populated the scene with figures hard at work cutting and gathering wood; he also added more prominent trees and village buildings to the landscape beyond, telescoping the low-lying, flooded countryside so that the once-distant hills terminating in Beachy Head appear much closer and almost mountainous, and the sea much less prominent, its flat horizon indicated by a gleam of light to the left. The Martello towers (represented elsewhere in the Liber – see Tate D08138; Turner Bequest CXVII K) in the Views in Sussex watercolour – and in other watercolours by Turner3 – are omitted, perhaps intentionally since the Napoleonic Wars (which had begun well before Turner’s Liber) had ended in 1815, and with them the topicality of Britain’s southern coastline as the front line of Britain’s defences.
1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.348 no.426, reproduced;
2
Eric Shanes, Turner’s Rivers, Harbours and Coasts, London 1981, p.19; see also the same author’s ‘Sussex, Views in’ in Evelyn Joll, Martin Butlin and Herrmann eds., The Oxford Companion to J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 2001, pp.322–3.
3
See Joyce H. Townsend and Ian Warrell, ‘Picture Note 2’, Turner Studies, vol.11, no.1, Summer 1991, pp.56–7 and note 21.
4
Forrester 1996, p.140.
5
Hamilton 1998, pp.53–4.
6
‘Catalogue of the Rudimentary Series’ in Instructions in Practice of Elementary Drawing..., in Cook and Wedderburn XXI 1906, pp.218–19.
7
Forrester 1996, pp.161–3 (transcribed).
8
Ibid., p.163 (transcribed).
9
Rawlinson 1878, pp.144–69; 1906, pp.169–96; Finberg 1924, pp.287–365.
10
Hardie 1938, p.57 no.21, reproduced p.[91] pl.VI.
11
Forrester 1996, p.139; ‘Cooper Notebooks’, circa 1853–8, vol.II, p.6 no.4 in Krause 1997, p.267.
12
Forrester 1996, p.139; see also Ian Warrell, Turner on the Loire, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997, p.225, but with the other drawing listed as the unengraved Liber design Sion House, Isleworth (British Museum, London: see Rawlinson 1878, p.173 no.95).
13
Rawlinson 1878, p.151.
1
Forrester 1996, pp.15, 24 note 82 (analysis by Peter Bower, acknowledged p.8); see also Bower, Tate conservation files.
2
Ibid., p.139; see also Bower, Tate conservation files.
3
Townsend 1996, I, p.378.
4
Joyce Townsend, circa 1995, Tate conservation files, with slides of details.

Matthew Imms
May 2006

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