Joseph Mallord William Turner

St Michael’s Mount from near Marazion

1811

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 166 x 208 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D08931
Turner Bequest CXXV 42 a

Catalogue entry

The island is viewed from the north-east, from the bay on the mainland a little to the east of Marazion, indicated on the far right. The orientation is similar to that in the view from further back on the road above the shore on folio 32 recto (D08910; CXXV 31). At first sight the present drawing appears to continue left onto folio 44 recto opposite (D08932; CXXV 43), but the latter sketch appears to be a second view of the rocky mainland shore seen here. Rolling rainclouds are sketched in, and the shading on the south-east slopes of the island and the eastern face of its harbour wall suggest strong afternoon light.
Eric Shanes has noted that this sketch and the one opposite informed the watercolour Mount St Michael, Cornwall of about 1836 (University of Liverpool),1 engraved in 1838 for the series Picturesque Views in England and Wales.2 The weather in the watercolour is dramatic, with strong sunshine breaking through rain clouds, and the juxtaposition of the island and Marazion is similar to that in the present sketch, although the castle itself is shown rather inaccurately despite all the careful fieldwork in this sketchbook, and the foreground is filled with figures loading pack animals with salvaged wood from wrecks. This activity may have been recorded in the foreground of the drawing opposite, although it is very difficult to decipher.
For other views of the site, see under folio 32 recto (D08910; CXXV 31).

Matthew Imms
February 2011

1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.403 no.880, reproduced.
2
Shanes 1979, p.155; see also Milner 1990, p.56.

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