Joseph Mallord William Turner Minehead and Dunster Castle from Blue Anchor Bay 1811

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Artwork details

Minehead and Dunster Castle from Blue Anchor Bay
From Devonshire Coast, No.1 Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CXXIII
Date 1811
Medium Graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 75 x 117 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXIII 162 a
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

Eric Shanes has identified this sketch, looking west along Blue Anchor Bay about the point where the Carhampton–Watchet road leaves the coast, as the basis of the watercolour Minehead, Somersetshire of about 1818 or 1820 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight),1 engraved in 1821 for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England2 (see the concordance of the series in the 1811 tour introduction). Dunster Castle is on the skyline to the left with the nearby Conygar Tower towards the centre and the hills above Minehead (see under folio 4 recto; D08368) on the right.
For other views of Dunster, see under folio 19 verso (D08398). Folio 166 recto opposite (D08673; CXXIII 163) shows the view in the opposite direction. A smaller study on folio 171 verso (D08683; CXXIII 168a) includes the tree and inn featuring on the right of the Southern Coast watercolour but not indicated in the present sketch.
John Gage has suggested that the first few lines of poetry on folio 159 verso (D08661; CXXIII 156a) may relate to the present sketch as interpreted in the sunlit Southern Coast watercolour,3 but any similarity is likely to be fortuitous.

Matthew Imms
June 2011

Wilton 1979, p.353 no.469, reproduced, as circa 1820, under which unspecified ‘[s]tudies of Minehead with Dunster Castle’ in this sketchbook and elsewhere are mentioned; but see Shanes 1981, p.26, suggesting a date of circa 1818.
Shanes 1981, p.152.
Gage 1987, p.253 note 38.

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