Joseph Mallord William Turner

Cliffs, with the North Foreland Lighthouse


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Support: 108 x 126 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXX 35

Catalogue entry

Turner scholar C.F. Bell identified this as the lighthouse at Kent’s North Foreland.1 It is an octagonal structure of the late seventeenth century, which had been raised by a storey just before Turner’s visit, in 1793. The upper section was removed in the late nineteenth century.
As now bound, the subject is inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation. Finberg’s numbering of this page as ‘XXX 35’ in the 1909 Inventory, without his customary ‘a’ suffix to indicate a verso, seems to imply that this slight drawing was then on the recto of the sheet, which would suggest that the book was later rebound with the page back to front, as is the case with several later leaves (see the Technical notes in the sketchbook’s Introduction). In all these cases the Turner Bequest monogram is stamped on the unused side.
The blank recto is stamped in brown ink with the Turner Bequest monogram, inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘35’ and stamped in black ‘XXX 35’ at the bottom right.

Andrew Wilton
May 2011

MS note ‘North Foreland. CFB’ by A.J. Finberg in his annotated copy of Finberg 1909, I, p.61 (Prints and Drawings Room, Tate Britain).

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like