Joseph Mallord William Turner

St Michael’s Mount from near Marazion


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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 348 x 489 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 65

Catalogue entry

This colour study has been compared by Andrew Wilton to broad oil sketches Turner made in Rome in 1828, ‘connected with the evolution’ of his mythological painting Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1829 (National Gallery, London),1 and suggestive of the Italian coast near Naples. See Tate D40192 for a watercolour study which appears rather closer in composition to that painting.
On the plausible grounds of its similarity to the pencil view in the 1811 Ivy Bridge to Penzance sketchbook (Tate D40816, D08910; Turner Bequest CCXV 30a–31), showing St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall, looking north-west across Mount’s Bay towards Penzance from near Marazion, Eric Shanes has suggested this as a sunset study for a subject for Turner’s Picturesque Views in England and Wales.2 However, as he notes, the later watercolour Mount St Michael, Cornwall of about 1836 (University of Liverpool),3 engraved in 1838 for the Picturesque Views (Tate impressions: T04612, T06129), shows a lower, beach-level view westwards in less clement weather;4 Tate D25195 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 73) is a possible study of the clouds in the 1836 watercolour.
See Tate D25514 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 390), a study related to the present work, and also the introductions to the present subsection of identified subjects and the overall England and Wales ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which this work has been assigned.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.183–5 no.330, pl.331 (colour).
Shanes 1997, pp.27, 39, 83, 94, 95, 101, 104.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.403 no.880, reproduced.
See Shanes 1997, p.83.
Technical notes:
Shanes describes the present paper as the ‘same’ as that of another likely England and Wales ‘colour beginning’ (Tate D25161; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 39).1
Ibid., pp.94, 101.
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘AB 94 P | O’ and ‘D25187’ top left, upside down; inscribed ‘CCLXIII.65’ and ‘D25187’ bottom right
The ‘AB’ number corresponds with the endorsement on one of the parcels of works sorted by John Ruskin during his survey of the Turner Bequest, in this case classified by him as ‘Colour effects. Finer’.1

Matthew Imms
March 2013

Transcribed in Finberg 1909, II, p.814.

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