Joseph Mallord William Turner

Fortifications at the Entrance of Fowey Harbour


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

Graphite on paper
Support: 166 x 208 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXV 19

Catalogue entry

The medieval blockhouse at Polruan is seen to the south-west across the Fowey Estuary, from near its counterpart on the Fowey side. The drawing continues across the whole of folio 19 verso opposite (D08889; CXXV 18a), under which their history and setting and related drawings are discussed.
Finberg noted that the double-page sketch is the basis of the watercolour Entrance of Fowey Harbour, Cornwall of about 1817 (private collection),1 engraved in 1820 for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England2 (see the concordance of the series in the 1811 tour introduction). Eric Shanes has also noted Turner’s use of the same sketch for his watercolour of the Entrance to Fowey Harbour, Cornwall of about 1827 (Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts),3 engraved in 1829 for the series Picturesque Views in England and Wales.4 The viewpoints are similar, but the Polruan fortification recorded in this part of the sketch is omitted from the England and Wales version, leaving only jagged rocks.
Wilton 1979, p.353 no.466.
Finberg 1909, I, p.355; see also Wilton 1979, p.353; Shanes 1981, p.152; and Shanes 1990, p.266.
Wilton 1979, p.393 no.801, reproduced.
Shanes 1979, p.155, and 1990 pp.178, 285 note 127.
Technical notes:
There is brown spotting at the top and the bottom right. A small tear to the left-hand edge has been repaired.

Matthew Imms
February 2011

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