[from] Nos. 213–25: Devonshire Sketches, 1813
THIS group of oil sketches on paper of Devonshire subjects has always been associated with Turner's second visit to Devon. His first had been in the summer of 1811 and the second is dated by Finberg to the summer of 1813; the chief evidence lies in the later account of Cyrus Redding, whose reference to the visit of the singer Madame Catalani to Saltram can presumably be linked with her known appearances at Exeter and Truro in August 1813. The same journey lay behind Turner's Crossing the Brook, exhibited in 1815 (see No. 130 [N00497]). Turner also seems to have visited south Devon in 1814 (see Gage 1980, pp. 57–9).
Redding describes a picnic on the heights of Mont Edgcumbe at which ‘Turner showed the ladies some of his sketches in oil, which he had brought with him, perhaps to verify them’. This could suggest that they had been executed indoors, but on the other hand, as Evelyn Joll has pointed out, Turner may have painted them on a previous excursion and now wished to check the exact locations. Indeed, another companion, Charles (later Sir Charles) Eastlake, told Thornbury how, when Turner 'returned to Plymouth, in the neighbourhood of which he remained some weeks, Mr…