Joseph Mallord William Turner

St Ives from the Stennack


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 141 x 215 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXV a 49

Catalogue entry

Turner looks north-east, down past the parish church of St Ia to the harbour, where Smeaton’s Pier has since been extended to about double the length shown here. The Island’s chapel stands on the summit towards the left, and Godrevy Island is seen across St Ives Bay to the right with the coast towards Newquay beyond. Many of these features appear in another drawing made from south of the town (folio 50 recto; D41329). In the foreground are watermills on the River Stennack, since culverted on its approach to the sea, about where Trenwith Place now stands above the Royal Cinema; the one in the centre has been identified by David Tovey as Chellew’s Mills.1 The building beyond it, below the church tower, appears to be the present Western Hotel in Royal Square.
This is one of four consecutive, detailed drawings of St Ives and its surroundings (see also folios 47, 48 and 50 recto; D41326, D41327, D41329), the identification of which has been credited to the contemporary St Ives artist Roy Ray;2 there is a further view bound towards the end of the book (folio 82 recto; D41364).
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 mistakenly as ‘Penzance (?)’ in a manuscript listing,3 while C.F. Bell described it in his own notes as ‘Seaport town with church with square tower’.4 Figures usually corresponding to Finberg’s MS catalogue page numbers, which differ from Bell’s sequence, are inscribed on the verso of most sheets.
Tovey 2008, p.13; see also p.24, comparing Frederick Mercer’s 1870s watercolour from a similar viewpoint (fig.1.15).
Brown in Lewis and Brown 1985, p.97.
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) 28.
C.F. Bell, MS addenda, [after 1928], tipped into a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, p.356B, as CXXVa 49; entry later annotated in other hands ‘Dartmouth?’ and ‘?St Ives’.
Technical notes:
The sheet is slightly wrinkled, possibly as a result of exposure to damp.
Blank, save for inscription by Edwin Fagg in pencil ‘126 | 28’ bottom right. There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

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