Joseph Mallord William TurnerThe River Tamar below Weir Head, Gunnislake ?1813

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Artwork details

The River Tamar below Weir Head, Gunnislake
From Vale of Heathfield Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CXXXVII
Date ?1813
MediumGraphite on paper
Dimensionssupport: 181 x 228 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXVII 49 a
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 52 Verso:
The River Tamar below Weir Head, Gunnislake ?1813
Turner Bequest CXXXVII 49a
Pencil on white wove paper, 181 x 228 mm
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram towards bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The view is from the Cornish side, north-north-east up the River Tamar south of Gunnislake, with the profile of Chimney Rock in the distance on the Devon side. The composition is inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation. The banks are now more heavily wooded, and none of these particular buildings appears to survive. The square structure in the distance stands at the southern end of the short Tamar Manure Navigation Canal, and is also seen in a closer view on folio 53 verso (D10279; CXXXVII 50a), under which the subject is discussed in more detail.
The book contains numerous views in and around the Tamar and Tavy valleys between folios 46 verso (D10265; CXXXVII 43a) and 58 verso (D10289; CXXXVII 55a), probably made in the summer of 1813 in conjunction with those in the smaller Devon Rivers, No.1 sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CXXXII). The latter is covered in the section of the present catalogue specifically devoted to Turner’s 1813 visit to Devon, where further information on Turner’s work in the locality will be found.

Matthew Imms
May 2011

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