Joseph Mallord William Turner

Cliviger Gorge, Looking North-West

1799

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 225 × 329 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D01972
Turner Bequest XLV 37 a

Catalogue entry

Cliviger Gorge is a rare geological formation, a tall escarpment of black Millstone Grit, whose corrugated sides, covered with low bushes, slope up to a sharp bare cliff. Made with the page turned horizontally, this drawing is one of a sequence of four summary notes of the Gorge, which rises up immediately opposite the entrance of Dr Whitaker’s house, The Holme, which Turner drew carefully on folios 14 verso–15 recto (D01928–D01929). He may have wished to record the strange formation for its own sake, but also probably wished to acquaint himself more fully with the immediate surroundings of Whitaker’s home. The other drawings are on the versos of folios 38, 39 and 40 (D01974, D01976, D01978).
While this is a general view from the south-eastern end of the Gorge, that on D01974 is from an eminence in the village of Holme Chapel, immediately above Whitaker’s house, looking south east; those on D01976 and D01978 show sections of the cliff at different points along its length. The overhang indicated by a few scribbled lines at the top of the cliff to the left here may be Eagle’s Crag, which is also perhaps shown on D01978.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

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