Joseph Mallord William Turner

Carthamartha and Bishop’s Rock on the River Tamar


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 90 × 152 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXII 127

Catalogue entry

Diana Cook and Dorothy Kirk have identified the view as of Carthamartha and Bishop’s Rock;1 for their relative situation on the Tamar see under folio 126 recto (D09628). Turner’s viewpoint is near Dunterton, west of Endsleigh Cottage (see folio 129 verso; D09634) on the Devon side, looking to the south-west up a loop of the river which flows down from the centre, having entered the valley from the north beyond the trees to the right. The building on the horizon at the centre is at Carthamartha, where scattered farm buildings stand today beyond the woods above Carthamartha Rocks. Bishop’s Rock is towards the left, although not clearly distinguished.
The lettering of an 1823 engraving of Cartha Martha Rocks by F.C. Lewis, showing virtually the same view, cites ‘J. Gould Esq.’ as the owner of the rocks,2 which appears to account in part for Turner’s inscription. There is a ‘Mount Pleasant’ to the north of Lezant, about two miles north-west of Carthamartha and well outside the present field of view, so Turner may simply have been making a note of another local site.
For other views along the Tamar Valley, see under folio 114 verso (D09606).

Matthew Imms
June 2014

Cook and Kirk 2001, p.50; Cook and Kirk 2009, p.55.
Cook and Kirk 2001, p.51, with Lewis print reproduced p.50 and a modern photograph of the view by Kirk, p.51; Cook and Kirk 2009, p.55, again reproducing the print, with a photograph by Cook.

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