Joseph Mallord William Turner

West Country Watermills

1811

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 141 x 215 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D41332
Turner Bequest CXXV a 52

Catalogue entry

This view is currently unidentified, but the two overshot watermills were presumably recorded in Cornwall or North Devon, the localities for most of the identified views in this sketchbook. There is a slighter study of a similar mill, if not one of the two shown here, on folio 51 recto (D41331). Both sketches have apparently been bound at this point in the book by association with the mill at Tintagel shown on folios 53 recto, 54 recto and 55 recto (D41333–D41335). The present study has a somewhat industrial air, as C.F. Bell suggests (see below), with figures occupied at its centre, and may show somewhere in the Redruth-Camborne area, like the contemporary drawing in the Devonshire Coast, No.1 sketchbook (Tate D08779; Turner Bequest CXXIII 233). There is a view of Carn Brea, near Redruth, on folio 46 recto (D41325).
As discussed in the introduction, the pages of this ‘sketchbook’ appear to have originally been loose sheets, and are not recorded in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory of the Bequest, although he subsequently noted the subject as ‘Landscape with mills’ in a manuscript listing,1 while C.F. Bell described it in his own notes as ‘Mine buildings with water-wheels’.2 Figures usually corresponding to Finberg’s MS catalogue page numbers, which differ from Bell’s sequence, are inscribed on the verso of most sheets.
1
A.J. Finberg, MS addenda, [circa 1928–39], tipped into a copy of his A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, opposite p.356, as CXXV(a) 31.
2
C.F. Bell, MS addenda, [after 1928], tipped into a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, p.356B, as CXXVa 52.
Technical notes:
The sheet is slightly wrinkled, possibly as a result of exposure to damp.
Verso:
Blank, save for inscription by Edwin Fagg in pencil ‘130 | 31’ bottom right. There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

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