Joseph Mallord William Turner

Cheddar Gorge: High Rock from the West


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 222 × 181 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXV b 5

Catalogue entry

Turner’s viewpoint appears to be the road through Cheddar Gorge at the point east of Lion Rock after the dog-leg bends near Gough’s Cave, looking towards High Rock, with the perfunctory hatching at the centre indicating the rock-face on the far side of the road as it passes behind the outcrop on the left. Folios 1 recto–8 recto (D41374–D41381) are all views of Cheddar Gorge, most apparently made in a concentrated area around the Horseshoe Bend.
As discussed in the introduction, the pages of this ‘sketchbook’, which appear to have originally been loose sheets, are not recorded in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory of the Bequest, although he subsequently noted the subject as ‘Rocks’ in a manuscript list,1 while C.F. Bell described it in his own notes as ‘Rocky gorge’.2 Figures corresponding to Finberg’s MS catalogue page numbers, which differ from Bell’s sequence, are inscribed on the verso of each sheet.
A.J. Finberg, MS addenda, [circa 1928–39], tipped into a copy of his A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, opposite p.357, as CXXV(b) 12.
C.F. Bell, MS addenda, [after 1928], tipped into a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, p.356C, as CXXVB 5.
Technical notes:
The sheet is wrinkled, possibly as a result of exposure to damp. There are glue stains at the corners, showing through from the verso.
Blank, save for inscription by Edwin Fagg in pencil ‘215 | 12’ bottom left, descending vertically (partly trimmed). There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet, and some rubbing or offsetting.

Matthew Imms
May 2010

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