Joseph Mallord William Turner

Camber Castle; the Royal Military Canal from the Winchelsea Road


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 155 × 95 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXL 55

Catalogue entry

As in the sketch facing on folio 61 verso of the sketchbook (D10515; Turner Bequest CXL 54a), Turner is positioned on the Royal Military Road (built 1804–9) from Winchelsea to Rye. Here he looks to his right at Camber Castle, noting sheep grazing on the surrounding marsh and the Royal Military Canal. He combined these elements in his watercolour (National Museum of Wales, Cardiff)1 engraved by Edward Goodall in 1824 for Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England, which brings the castle closer to Rye and makes the town higher than they are in reality, and invents building work to link an extension of the canal to the River Brede. The most direct source for the watercolour is in the Hastings sketchbook (Tate D10369–D10370; Turner Bequest CXXXIX 21a–22), perhaps developed from the sketches here.
For sketches made inside the walls of the castle see folios 60 verso and 61 of this sketchbook (D10513, D10514; Turner Bequest CXL 53a, 54).

David Blayney Brown
July 2011

Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, pp.353–4 no.471.

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