View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
This unusual study ‘tests out on blue paper a view of Tintagel that Turner developed on white paper around 1825, possibly in connection with the Ports scheme’, writes Eric Shanes.1 Turner here depicts a rugged promontory, perhaps Tintagel Head, on the North Cornwall coast. The erosion and weathering of the central downward sloping headland is evoked through free, vigorous strokes of the brush in wash layered with the more opaque and textural medium of gouache. The ruins of the medieval Tintagel Castle can be seen on the peninsula to the right, forming a peak and highlighted in a pale pink gouache. Below the seawaters churn, mirroring the agitated sky above. Short curving dashes of the brush have been employed to evoke the elemental energy; from the pure teal pigment applied dryly at the foot of the cliff to the flicks of white gouache suggesting the breaking waves.
Finberg writes that this drawing may have been a leaf of a sketchbook.2