Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscription by Turner: A Note on West Country Subjects

1811

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Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Ink on paper
Dimensions
Support: 170 x 209 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D41522

Catalogue entry

Finberg transcribes Turner’s inscription as ‘Lands End in Book with N. Devn’, but the words are less distinct now, as they appear to have been partly rubbed and may have faded with time. Drawings of Land’s End and North Devon are now bound as the Cornwall and Devon sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CXXV a). Andrew Wilton suggests that one of the Land’s End views, Tate D08941 (Turner Bequest CXXV 50, bound as CXXV a 22), is meant specifically, as it was ‘catalogued by Finberg with the Ivy Bridge to Penzance sketchbook’1 (as was a second Land’s End sketch: Tate D08942; CXXV 51, bound as CXXV a 23).2
However, the Ivy Bridge to Penzance sketchbook was labelled as such by Turner and contains no identified subjects from North Devon. What he meant by ‘Book [?with N] Dev’ may instead be a large, leather-bound, gold-tooled album, stamped ‘SKETCHES’ on the spine (Tate), which possibly once housed the separate Cornwall and Devon sheets and also those now bound as the Stonehenge sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CXXV b), as discussed in the respective introductions to the two sketchbooks in the present catalogue.
Finberg’s phrasing implies that the present sheet formed the back cover at that time, but the sketchbook is now bound into a parchment cover (see the introduction to the sketchbook).
1
Wilton 1979, p.351.
2
Finberg 1909, I, p.356.
Technical notes:
As with the recto of the front endpaper as now bound (D40821), the paper is rubbed and darkened, a further indication that the endpapers were once the cover of the book.

Matthew Imms
February 2011

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