Joseph Mallord William TurnerInscription by Turner: A List of 'Southern Coast' Subjects 1811

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Artwork details

Artist
Title
Inscription by Turner: A List of 'Southern Coast' Subjects
From Devonshire Coast, No.1 Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CXXIII
Date 1811
MediumGraphite and pen and ink on paper
Dimensionssupport: 117 x 75 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D08370
Turner Bequest CXXIII 5
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 5 Recto:
Inscription by Turner: A List of ‘Southern Coast’ Subjects 1811
D08370
Turner Bequest CXXIII 5
Inscribed by Turner in pencil and pen and ink (see main catalogue entry) on white wove writing paper, 117 x 75 mm
Inscribed twice by John Ruskin in red ink ‘5’ top right and bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CXXIII – 5’ bottom right
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The whole page is taken up with the following list:
Poole               0 1       1  
Corfe Castle        – 0 2     2  
Lulworth Castle x     0 3     3  
_________________Cove         4  
Weymouth     . 0 4            5  
Portland     . 0 5  
Abbotbury. x                  6  
Lyme Regis     0 6            7  
     Teignmouth  8            8  
Torbay –      0 9  
Dartmouth       0 10          9  
Plymouth          11 12 13    11  
     Dock  
Mt Edgecombe          0 10    12  
                      0 11
E and W Looe         14 12    13  
               Fowey          13  
Falmouth     Bridport         14  
St Mawes or Pendennis     16  15  
St Michael Mount     17       16  
Lands End         18          17  
                              18  
St Ives               19      19  
In a few cases earlier figures have been overwritten, and the provisional nature of the list is apparent. It comprises places Turner sketched, among many others, in anticipation of making watercolours to be engraved for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England, the main motivation for his West Country tour of 1811. Including four views in and around Plymouth, all appear in the series except Abbotsbury, of which no sketches are identified, although it is mentioned in Turner’s poetry on folio 103 verso (D08559; CXXIII 100a), and St Ives, drawn in the Cornwall and Devon sketchbook (see in particular Tate D41326–D41329, D41364; Turner Bequest CXXV a 47–50, 82). The subjects, except Bridport, are listed in the geographical order in which Turner would have encountered them travelling west along the South Coast before continuing north-east from Land’s End. For a concordance of Southern Coast watercolours and prints, see the introduction to the 1811 tour.
Gerald Wilkinson assumed that Turner ‘crossed off the subjects ... as they were done. For the rest, he followed his own inclinations.’1 As Howard Hanley suggests,2 the list may have been drawn up prior to departure, but whether it was numbered, annotated and renumbered en route or back in the studio is effectively impossible to establish. Hanley’s suggestion that the numbers immediately after the place names indicate the consecutive days when Turner visited them seems unlikely – if so, as he says, ‘Turner must have moved fast even for him’.3 They seem rather to be simply a working total of subjects, clarified in the right-hand column.
The list continues on folio 7 recto (D08374). On folio 4 verso opposite (D08369) there are measurements in inches which appear to relate to the format of the Southern Coast watercolours and prints.
1
Wilkinson 1977, p.131.
2
Hanley 1992, p.6.
3
Ibid.
Technical notes:
The crossings-out are in pencil, except for Land’s End being marked in ink, as are (in addition to the pencil) Poole, Corfe, Weymouth, Lyme Regis, Teignmouth, Dartmouth and, partially, St Michael’s Mount.

Matthew Imms
June 2011

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