Joseph Mallord William Turner

Clovelly from near Buck’s Mills


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 138 × 215 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXV a 65

Catalogue entry

Eric Shanes has noted this sketch as a source for the watercolour Clovelly Bay of about 1822 (National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin),1 engraved in 1824 for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England (see the concordance of the series in the 1811 tour introduction). He also lists the drawings on folios 43 recto (under which other views are discussed), 44 recto, 45 recto and 65 recto (D41322–D41324, D41347), and one in the contemporary Devonshire Coast, No.1 sketchbook (Tate D08766; Turner Bequest CXXIII 223).2 The latter defines the overall composition, complete with foreground cliffs and donkeys, while the Cornwall and Devon studies provide supplementary details of the village and coastline.
The present sketch gives only a slight indication of Clovelly’s pier and the houses on the hillside above, looking west-north-west from the beach or near the Gore rocks near Buck’s Mills, identified by Shanes as the viewpoint in the watercolour,3 and presumably informed its view of the distant village and coast, although the correlation is not precise. As in the similar view from nearer to Clovelly on folio 64 recto (D41346), Lundy Island, some sixteen miles beyond, is shown at the right-hand edge. Folio 60 recto (D41341) shows what may be a view of Buck’s Mills itself, looking east from the beach.
As discussed in the introduction, the pages of this ‘sketchbook’ appear to have originally been loose sheets, and are not recorded in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory of the Bequest, although he subsequently noted the subject correctly as ‘Coast near Clovelly’ in a manuscript listing,4 while C.F. Bell described it in his own notes as ‘Precipitous coast with fishing-village’.5 Figures usually corresponding to Finberg’s MS catalogue page numbers, which differ from Bell’s sequence, are inscribed on the verso of most sheets.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.354 no.472, reproduced.
Shanes 1981, p.152.
Shanes 1981, p.27.
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.356, as CXXV(a) 79.
C.F. Bell, MS addenda, [after 1928], tipped into a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, p.356B, as CXXVa 65.
Technical notes:
The sheet is slightly wrinkled, possibly as a result of exposure to damp.
Blank, save for inscription by Edwin Fagg in pencil ‘180 | 79’ bottom right. There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet, and some slight rubbing or offsetting.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

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