Joseph Mallord William Turner

Trematon Castle across the St Germans or Lynher River from Antony


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 157 x 95 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXI 118

Catalogue entry

This drawing continues on folio 117 verso opposite (D09344). The sketches between here and folio 126 recto (D09356) were made around Antony, Cornwall, a village south of the St Germans or Lynher River west of the River Tamar and Plymouth. The view here is from near St James the Great’s Church, looking north-east over the village and river to the profile of Trematon Castle above Antony Passage in the distance on the opposite page. The studies between folios 36 recto and 43 recto (D09255, D09263) were made in the vicinity of the castle. The subjects as far as folio 127 recto (D09358) are all identified or presumed sites within a few miles in and around Plymouth, suggesting a series of fairly short excursions.
John Ruskin identified the trees1 as relating to those in Turner’s major West Country oil painting Crossing the Brook, exhibited in 1815 (Tate N00497),2 showing a view south down the broad Tamar Valley from above Gunnislake Bridge, but any resemblance in the intertwining boughs is probably fortuitous, and was questioned by Finberg.3 See also the entries for folios 68 recto and 84 recto (D09291, D09309) and 251 recto (D09428; Turner Bequest CXXXI 162a). For sketches relating directly to the painting and probably also made in 1813, see the Vale of Heathfield sketchbook (Tate D10271, D10273, D10274; Turner Bequest CXXXVII 46a, 47a, 48).
Andrew Wilton has described the tree studies here and in the 1814 Devon Rivers, No.2 sketchbook (Tate D09713; Turner Bequest CXXXIII 37) as ‘rare in their particularization’.4 Butlin and Joll give the present sketch as an example of ‘drawings of the countryside represented but not actually copied’5 in Crossing the Brook.

Matthew Imms
April 2014

Cook and Wedderburn 1904 p.563 no.77; see also Reynolds 1969, p.212 no.60.
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.93–4 no.130, pl.123 (colour).
See Finberg 1909, I, p.369.
Wilton 1979, p.126.
Butlin and Joll 1984, p.94.

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