Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ilfracombe from Capstone Hill

1811

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 140 x 215 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D41317
Turner Bequest CXXV a 39

Catalogue entry

Turner’s viewpoint is Capstone Hill, looking east towards Ilfracombe Harbour, where the masts of shipping are seen, with St Nicholas’s Chapel on Lantern Hill, and Hillsborough rising beyond. Eric Shanes has noted this sketch among others1 in relation to the watercolour Ilfracombe, North Devon of about 1813–16 (private collection),2 engraved in 1818 for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England (see the concordance of the series in the 1811 tour introduction). See under folio 37 recto (D41314) for further discussion and other Ilfracombe views.
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 as ‘Rocks on coast’ in a manuscript listing,3 while C.F. Bell described it tentatively in his own notes as ‘Ilfracombe(?)’.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.
1
Shanes 1981, p.152.
2
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.352 no.462, reproduced.
3
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.357, as CXXV(a) 88.
4
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 39.
Technical notes:
The sheet is slightly wrinkled, possibly as a result of exposure to damp.
Verso:
Blank, save for inscriptions: inscribed by C.F. Bell in pencil ‘Ilfracomb’ bottom left; inscribed by Edwin Fagg in pencil ‘188 | 88’ top left, upside down; there is a notch in the stub to which the leaf is attached, to avoid obscuring the number. There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

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