Joseph Mallord William Turner

Calstock Church, with Cotehele House and Prospect Tower above the River Tamar Beyond

1814

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In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 179 × 254 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D09836
Turner Bequest CXXXIV 41

Catalogue entry

Finberg implied by the sequence of his listing as numbered in the 1909 Inventory that Turner’s ‘ditto’ referred to a drawing inscribed ‘Calstock’ at the corresponding point on the previous folio;1 however, the pages have since been rebound in a different order (see the Introduction) and the ‘Calstock’ view (D09835; Turner Bequest CXXXIV 40) is now on folio 66 recto. Turner’s ‘ditto’ does indeed appear to refer back to that view, as the common subject seems to be St Andrew’s Parish Church, high on the ridge north of Calstock, in this case with Cotehele House and the nearby Prospect Tower down the Tamar Valley in the distance to the west. In D09835, the church tower is shown with a view north up the Tamar towards Gunnislake. Trees and hedges now preclude clear sightlines in the area.
There is a view in the direction of Cotehele House from Calstock itself in the contemporary Devon Rivers, No.1 sketchbook (Tate D09656; Turner Bequest CXXXII 141); compare also a drawing in the Vale of Heathfield sketchbook (Tate D10265; Turner Bequest CXXXVII 43a), probably used in 1813. The numerous sketches up and down this stretch of the Tamar relate in varying degrees to the development of the major painting Crossing the Brook (Tate N00497),2 which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1815, where Calstock Church appears in the distance beyond Gunnislake.

Matthew Imms
July 2014

1
A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.I, p.381.
2
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.93–4 no.130, pl.123 (colour).

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