Joseph Mallord William Turner

Land’s End: Longships Lighthouse from Dr Syntax’s Head

1811

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

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
D41302
Turner Bequest CXXV a 26

Display caption

This study closely relates to the Land's End group of watercolours (nos.66-8).

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

The view is from Dr Syntax’s Head at Land’s End, looking west to the Longships lighthouse. Turner’s annotations may indicate grass and stone. Clarkson Stanfield made a comparably precipitous view to be engraved for his English Channel series Coast Scenery in 1836 (Tate impressions: T05637, T05638). For other views in this sketchbook at and around Land’s End, see under folio 22 recto (D08941; CXXV 50, bound as CXXV a 22).
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 mistakenly noted the subject as ‘Cliffs with St. Michs Mt. in dist.’ in a manuscript listing,1 while C.F. Bell described it correctly in his own notes as ‘Lands End and Longships Lighthouse’.2 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
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.356, as CXXV(a) 13.
2
C.F. Bell, MS addenda, [after 1928], tipped into a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, p.356A, as CXXVa 26.
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 ‘Land’s End & Longships Lighthouse’ bottom left; inscribed by Edwin Fagg in pencil ‘112 | 13’ bottom right. There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

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