Joseph Mallord William Turner

?A Cliff on the Coast near Sunderland

1817

Not on display
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 116 x 185 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D40923

Catalogue entry

The drawing is, as Finberg notes, slight, but does seem to show a cliff face. Drawings at the other end of the sketchbook show the mouth of the River Wear at Sunderland from the south bank on folios 1 recto–5 recto (D12318–D12324), so the present sketch may have been made along the coast a little to the south. The coast has seen much industrialisation, but remains rugged towards Ryhope and beyond.
The significance of Turner’s note is unclear, although the names Spoors and its variant Spoor were and remain particularly common in what are now Northumberland and Tyne and Wear,1 so may indicate a possible local contact on this tour.
1
See 1881 and 1998 distribution maps at National Trust Names, accessed 25 January 2010, http://www.nationaltrustnames.org.uk/.
Technical notes:
There is some darkening of the paper over the leather overlaps. The overlap at the bottom has been scored in parallel bands and three sections drawn back to form pencil loops protruding beyond the lower edge of the cover. Similar scoring is evident inside the front cover (D40918) but there the binder seems to have changed his mind and pasted the endpaper straight over the strips.
There is extensive staining across the inner two-thirds of the page, corresponding largely with that evident on the outside covers, and probably caused by the Tate flood in 1928 (see the note for the front cover, D40917).

Matthew Imms
February 2010

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