Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Rocky Headland on the Isle of Wight, with the ?East Cowes Castle or Norris Castle Beyond


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour and bodycolour on paper
Support: 110 × 185 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXVII 31

Catalogue entry

Ian Warrell has identified the tower as that of East Cowes Castle1 on the Isle of Wight (see folio 16 verso; D20757), although this is uncertain and made more so by that building’s demolition. Assuming the view is topographically accurate, it might alternatively show nearby Norris Castle, overlooking the Solent (see the Introduction to this tour), as Finberg tentatively suggested;2 compare folio 29 recto (D20803; Turner Bequest CCXXVII 43).
For other drawings showing the island, including some on adjacent pages, see under folio 2 recto (D20735).
See Warrell 1991, p.65.
Finberg 1909, II, p.699.
Technical notes:
As discussed in the sketchbook’s introduction, this leaf’s blank recto does not have a Tate ‘D’ accession number. It was prepared with a grey wash, and is inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘31’ and stamped in black ‘CCXXVII – 31’ at the bottom right.
There are several pages in this sketchbook where the monochrome grey wash common to all the rectos has been worked in watercolour with occasional scratching out (see under folio 5 recto (D20741); folio 34 recto opposite (D20783; Turner Bequest CCXXVII 32) is one such case, but the present study, while in a similar mode, was made on an unprepared verso.

Matthew Imms
November 2015

Read full Catalogue entry


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