Joseph Mallord William Turner

Coastal Cliffs in Cornwall or North Devon


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 141 × 215 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXV a 1 a

Catalogue entry

The vigorous pencil work on the left is somewhat ambiguous, but there is possibly a squarish building above the shore at the centre, with little else to indicate a specific location. The rugged geology is in keeping with the Cornish and North Devon settings of most of the views in this sketchbook.
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 as ‘Rocks on Coast’ in a manuscript listing,1 while C.F. Bell described it in his own notes as ‘Bay with precipitous shores’.2 Figures usually corresponding to Finberg’s MS catalogue page numbers, which differ from Bell’s sequence, are inscribed on the verso of most sheets, although in this case they appear on the recto as now bound (D41275).
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(a) 90 [recto].
C.F. Bell, MS addenda, [after 1928], tipped into a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, p.356A, as CXXVa 1a.
Technical notes:
There are glue stains at the corners of the recto, which show through. The sheet is slightly wrinkled, possibly as a result of exposure to damp.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

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