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

Sussex sketchbook c.1806–10

Turner Bequest XCII
Sketchbook, bound in marbled calf, with gold-tooled foredges and spine and two brass clasps, broken
46 leaves of cream wove paper, variously prepared with buff, grey or purple wash, and front and rear flyleaves of cream laid paper
Approximate page size 216 x 153 mm
The wove paper watermarked ‘1794 | J. WHATMAN’
Inscribed by Turner in ink ‘35 Sussex’ on a label on the spine (D40660)
Endorsed by the Executors of the Turner Bequest in ink ‘No 150’ and signed by Henry Scott Trimmer in ink ‘H.S. Trimmer’ and by Charles Lock Eastlake and John Prescott Knight in pencil ‘C.L.E.’ and ‘JPK’ on first flyleaf
Stamped in black ‘XCII’ inside front cover
Inscribed by unknown hands in pencil ‘XCII’ and ‘S/Book 530’inside front cover
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This sketchbook contains views in East Sussex between Hastings and Rye. It is similar to the Herstmonceux and Pevensey sketchbook (Tate D05618–D05716; D40798–D40800; Turner Bequest XCI) in its paper, format, preparation and subject matter.
The book was dated 1804–6 by Finberg and circa 1806–7 by Eric Shanes.1 Gerald Wilkinson, who found it ‘much more lively’ than Herstmonceux to Pevensey, was unconvinced by Finberg’s dating. However he retained it and, noting Turner’s visit to William Frederick Wells at Knockholt, Kent in 1806, when the two friends first conceived the idea of the Liber Studiorum, asked; ‘Did Turner then stride off into the Sussex hills with his head full of ambition to rival Claude? It seems quite likely. The larger the conception, the more heady when it first begins to form.’2.Two Liber subjects originate in the book: Winchelsea, Sussex published in 1812 can be traced to folio 11 (D05762; Turner Bequest XCII 43) and East Gate, Winchelsea, Sussex published in 1819 to folio 6 (D05763; Turner Bequest XCII 44) via the finished studies usually dated circa 1807–8 (Tate D08145, D08167; Turner Bequest CXVII Q, CXVIII M). This catalogue gives the sketchbook to the same date range as Herstmonceux to Pevensey, 1806–10, on the basis that it might also have been used during Turner’s visit to East Sussex in 1810 to work for John Fuller.
1
Shanes 1998, p.22.
2
Wilkinson 1974, p.71.

David Blayney Brown
April 2011

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How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Sussex sketchbook c.1806–10’, sketchbook, April 2011, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/sussex-sketchbook-r1131028, accessed 21 September 2014.