Joseph Mallord William Turner

Okehampton Castle from the South-West


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 179 x 254 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXIV 71

Catalogue entry

The castle is seen from the south-west, with the West Okement River flowing through the valley below. This sketch has long been recognised as the main source for the watercolour Okehampton, on the Okement of about 1824 (Tate D18138; Turner Bequest CCVIII E),1 engraved in 1825 for The Rivers of England,2 where a woodcutter and his family appear among the felled trees in the foreground.
For other views of the town and castle at Okehampton, see under folio 59 recto (D09814; Turner Bequest CXXXIV 22).
Wilton 1979, p.385 no.738, reproduced.
See John Ruskin’s 1878 Catalogue of Sketches by Turner Lent by the Trustees of the National Gallery to the Ruskin Drawing School, Oxford in Cook and Wedderburn 1904, p.567; see also Finberg 1909, I, p.383; Wilton 1979, p.385; and Shanes 1981, p.152.
Technical notes:
There is some black spotting on the surface, and a faint, near-vertical (offset?) line to the right of the castle.
Blank, save for inscriptions: by John Ruskin in red ink ‘936’ bottom left; and in pencil ‘116’ at centre. The recto is one of eight drawings from this sketchbook lent to Oxford University in the nineteenth century (for the others see the sketchbook’s Introduction). Each has a large pencil number inscribed on the back which presumably relates to this loan, although they do not tally with the Oxford catalogue numbers; the surface is marked by extensive glue stains, presumably from having been pasted down for display.

Matthew Imms
July 2014

Read full Catalogue entry


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