Joseph Mallord William Turner
St Mawes at the Pilchard Season exhibited 1812

Artwork details

St Mawes at the Pilchard Season
Date Exhibited 1812
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 911 x 1206 mm
frame: 1341 x 1640 x 195 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Display caption

Turner visited St Mawes, east of Falmouth Bay, during a tour of the West Country in 1811. He was gathering material for a series of engraved views of the south coast. These were to reflect its scenery, industry and defensive role during the Napoleonic Wars.

The fishing industry suffered wartime depression, but Turner shows the pilchard season in a healthy state. He also emphasises the sixteenth-century fortress overlooking the bay. Built to guard against French invasion, this was a forerunner of the chain of Martello Towers constructed in Turner’s day along the coastline of south-east England for the same purpose.

August 2004

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