Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Calstock Parsonage, or Another House in the Tamar Valley

1814

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 90 x 152 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D09640
Turner Bequest CXXXII 132 a

Catalogue entry

Diana Cook and Dorothy Kirk suggest that this view is from Calstock churchyard, looking down to the north up the Tamar Valley, with Calstock parsonage on the right, later demolished and replaced by a rectory, now known as Ravenscourt, built further from the road seen receding above the house.1 The later building stands midway between the north-south Gunnislake road and the river, flowing roughly parallel with it at this point.
Thus the river ought to be clearly visible on the right, receding towards the middle distance; however, despite Cook and Kirk’s inclusion of comparative images,2 they note: ‘We have never felt certain about this sketch’.3 There seems to be little correlation with the actual landscape, and the presence of what appears to be a two-arched bridge in front of the house in Turner’s sketch adds to the problem. The view may be somewhere else, within a few miles of Calstock and Gunnislake, possibly towards Dartmoor (for which see under folio 8 recto; D09489).
For other views along the Tamar Valley, see under folio 114 verso (D09606).
1
Cook and Kirk 2001, p.34; Cook and Kirk 2009 p.37.
2
Cook and Kirk 2001, a modern photograph by Kirk, reproduced p.35; Cook and Kirk 2009, an 1842 print, reproduced p.37.
3
Ibid. 2009, p.37.
Technical notes:
There is a fortuitous, near vertical mark just to the right of and below the centre, slightly disrupting the composition.

Matthew Imms
June 2014

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