Joseph Mallord William Turner

Penzance and Mount’s Bay

1811

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
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
D41290
Turner Bequest CXXV a 15

Catalogue entry

Penzance is seen from the south-west. The spire on the left is that of the old St Mary’s Chapel, later replaced by the high, square tower of St Mary’s Church; St Michael’s Mount is across the bay to the east. The equivalent viewpoint today is along Western Promenade Road, with the later bathing pool in place of the shaded promontory beyond the beach. The furled sails of a ship in the harbour rise above the houses. For the harbour itself see folios 6 recto (D41281), under which other views are discussed, and 14 recto (D41289). There is a delicate continuation of the distant coast south-east of the Mount extending for almost the whole width of the page above the main drawing.
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 noted the subject as ‘Mounts Bay, with St. Michaels Mount in dist. on right’ in a manuscript listing,1 while C.F. Bell similarly described it in his own notes as ‘Mounts Bay from Penzance’.2 Figures differing from Bell’s sequence are inscribed on the verso of most sheets; they usually correspond with the pagination given in Finberg’s MS catalogue, but here and in a few other cases the numbers do not match, so a tentative connection has been made on the basis of Finberg’s descriptive title.
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) 3.
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 15.
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 ‘Mounts Bay & Penzance’ bottom left; inscribed by Edwin Fagg in pencil ‘102’ and in an unknown hand ‘2’ bottom right. There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

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