Joseph Mallord William Turner

Corfe Castle: The Village from the North-East


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 170 × 209 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXV 49

Catalogue entry

Corfe Castle village, crowned by St Edward’s Church, is seen to the south-west beyond the stone bridge at the entrance to the castle itself, from the slopes of West Hill. The exact viewpoint is now inaccessible on foot, being from about the point were the Norden to Swanage railway runs. East Street follows the valley in the foreground, turning up hill across the bridge over the mill stream on the left. At the lower centre is Boar Mill, which now lacks its waterwheel and is largely screened by trees, but water still flows over the stepped weir to its left. There are views from further away on this side on folios 5 recto and 6 recto (D08812; D08813).
Finberg records this page at the end of his listing of the Ivy Bridge to Penzance sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CXXV), in the terms transcribed above; it is unclear whether the page was bound there in 1909 or simply associated with that sketchbook in error. Although he recognised other views of Corfe, his roundabout description of the composition suggests he may not even have seen the drawing, and perhaps worked from an existing checklist. In describing the contents of the present sketchbook he noted, at the point where this leaf is now rebound: ‘[Page] 9. (No. 40 R.) Missing.’1 The number ‘40 R’ presumably indicates Ruskin’s foliation, which Finberg’s sequence reverses (see the introduction to the sketchbook, and the note about the verso below). When Tate accession numbers were allocated to the Turner Bequest, a record (D08816) was created for the ‘missing’ CXXIV 9 in sequence with adjacent drawings, and subsequently cancelled as redundant.
For other drawings of the castle and village, see the entry for folio 17 recto (D08826).
A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.I, p.353.
Blank, save for inscriptions by John Ruskin in red ink ‘40’ top right and ‘635’ bottom left.

Matthew Imms
February 2011

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