Joseph Mallord William Turner

Cartmel Sands, Cumbria


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache, graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 306 × 491 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 160

Catalogue entry

This colour study has been proposed by Eric Shanes as a potential subject for Turner’s Picturesque Views in England and Wales.1 Turner crossed Cartmel Sands between Ulverston and Cark when returning from the Lake District in 1816,2 and there are pencil studies in the Yorkshire 2 sketchbook (Tate D11169, D11171–D11173; Turner Bequest CXLV 83a, 84a, 85, 85a), showing the mountains of the southern Lake District in the background. Although the topography of the present study appears somewhat barren at first glance, with its identification largely facilitated by Turner’s inscription, it is modulated by the boats to the left, and a pencil outline of hills above the horizon, which may correspond with the range in the middle distance of D11171. There are also outline indications of storm clouds, while pencil work over the centre and to the right of the sands appear to indicate figures, possibly involved in fishing for cockles or mussels.
There are other colour studies of the shallow estuaries south of the Lake District: one possibly showing Lancaster Sands (Tate D25132; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 10); Duddon Sands (Tate D25226; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 104); and a wide view of Morecame Bay (Tate D25473; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 350).
See also the introductions to the present subsection of identified but unrealised subjects and the overall England and Wales ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which this work has been assigned.
Shanes 1997, pp.96, 105.
See David Hill, In Turner’s Footsteps: Through the Hills and Dales of Northern England, London 1984, pp.84–5.
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘44’ centre right, upside down; inscribed in pencil ‘CCLXIII | 160’ bottom right; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram above ‘CCLXIII – 160’ bottom right.

Matthew Imms
March 2013

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