Joseph Mallord William TurnerEridge Castle c.1810

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Artwork details

Eridge Castle
From Vale of Heathfield Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CXXXVII
Date c.1810
MediumGraphite on paper
Dimensionssupport: 181 x 228 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXVII 14 a
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Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 15 Verso:
Eridge Castle circa 1810
Turner Bequest CXXXVII 14a
Pencil on white wove paper, 181 x 228 mm
Blind-stamped with the Turner Bequest monogram lower right of centre
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The Eridge estate lies just south of Tunbridge Wells, off the Crowborough road.
Drawn with the sketchbook inverted, and continued on folio 16 (D10231; Turner Bequest CXXXVII 15), this view of Eridge Castle served as the basis for a watercolour of about 1816 (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester)1 but probably dates from Turner’s visit to John Fuller in East Sussex in 1810. The watercolour is first recorded in the collection of John Dillon and there is no evidence that it was part of the set of watercolours owned by Fuller (see Introduction to the sketchbook). However, it is similar in size and treatment while the property belonged to one of Fuller’s friends – the 2nd Earl of Abergavenny, who had rebuilt the earlier house in 1787 as a faux castle in Gothic Revival style, bristling with turrets and towers. The castle was demolished in 1938–9.
As Hartley suggests, if not intended for Fuller himself the watercolour could have been commissioned by Lord Abergavenny. There are further views of the mansion and parkland, presumably drawn on the same occasion, in the Sandycombe and Yorkshire sketchbook (Tate D08989, D08991 and, closest to the present drawing, D08996; Turner Bequest CXXVII 18a, 19a, 22a).

David Blayney Brown
March 2011

Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, p.349 no.439.

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