J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner St Michael's Mount from near Marazion 1811

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 43 Verso:
St Michael’s Mount from near Marazion 1811
Turner Bequest CXXV 42a
Pencil on white wove paper, 166 x 208 mm
Watermark ‘Fellows | 1808’
Inscribed by Turner in pencil with colour notes including ‘Dark’ on sea at centre left, and ‘wet sand [?R...]’, ‘Sand light’, ‘Distant light’ and ‘Stormy [?Sky]’ in foreground
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The island is viewed from the north-east, from the bay on the mainland a little to the east of Marazion, indicated on the far right. The orientation is similar to that in the view from further back on the road above the shore on folio 32 recto (D08910; CXXV 31). At first sight the present drawing appears to continue left onto folio 44 recto opposite (D08932; CXXV 43), but the latter sketch appears to be a second view of the rocky mainland shore seen here. Rolling rainclouds are sketched in, and the shading on the south-east slopes of the island and the eastern face of its harbour wall suggest strong afternoon light.
Eric Shanes has noted that this sketch and the one opposite informed the watercolour Mount St Michael, Cornwall of about 1836 (University of Liverpool),1 engraved in 1838 for the series Picturesque Views in England and Wales.2 The weather in the watercolour is dramatic, with strong sunshine breaking through rain clouds, and the juxtaposition of the island and Marazion is similar to that in the present sketch, although the castle itself is shown rather inaccurately despite all the careful fieldwork in this sketchbook, and the foreground is filled with figures loading pack animals with salvaged wood from wrecks. This activity may have been recorded in the foreground of the drawing opposite, although it is very difficult to decipher.
For other views of the site, see under folio 32 recto (D08910; CXXV 31).

Matthew Imms
February 2011

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.403 no.880, reproduced.
Shanes 1979, p.155; see also Milner 1990, p.56.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘St Michael’s Mount from near Marazion 1811 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, February 2011, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-st-michaels-mount-from-near-marazion-r1137414, accessed 04 October 2015.