Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sidmouth and the Coast to the East


Not on display
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 75 x 117 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXIII 203 a

Catalogue entry

Sidmouth is shown from the west, with Salcombe Hill beyond and a continuation of the Devon coastline towards Beer Head above the main drawing. Turner did not develop this subject for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast project; William Collins’s 1821 Sidmouth, published as one of the half-page plates in the series, shows a roughly comparable view (Tate impressions: T05372, T05373; see the introduction to the 1811 tour).
Eric Shanes has suggested that the present drawing and that on folio 208 recto (D08737; CXXIII 205) were ‘synthesized’ to form the composition of the watercolour of Sidmouth of about 1824 (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester),1 engraved for The Ports of England in 1828 (but not published until 1856 in The Harbours of England).2 The buildings sketched here, including the tower of St Giles and St Nicholas’s Church, are rendered rather schematically in the watercolour, where the viewpoint is shifted out to sea.
There is a slight sketch of cliffs inscribed ‘Sidmouth’ towards the beginning of the sketchbook, on folio 17 verso (D08394), and the coastline recorded on folio 210 recto (D08740; CXXIII 207) may be nearby.

Matthew Imms
June 2011

Wilton 1979, p.388 no.759, reproduced.
Shanes 1981, pp.37, 152, and 1990, p.138; see also Hartley 1984, p.47, Ann Sumner, Ruskin and the English Watercolour: From Turner to the Pre-Raphaelites, exhibition catalogue, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester 1989, p.49 under no.69, and Nugent and Croal 1997, p.74.

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