Joseph Mallord William Turner

Cotehele House and the Prospect Tower above the River Tamar


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 181 × 228 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXVII 43 a

Catalogue entry

Although they follow Finberg in their caption, Cook and Kirk are correct in their accompanying text in identifying this view as of Cotehele House, a medieval Cornish mansion (now National Trust), and the eighteenth-century Prospect Tower folly1 from Higher Kelly, Calstock; they include a photograph of about 1900 and a modern one by Kirk for comparison.2 Looking towards the south-west, the meandering River Tamar is below with the Devon bank towards the bottom left. There is a slight continuation on folio 47 recto opposite (D10266; CXXXVII 44); the composition is inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation.
The sketchbook contains numerous views in and around the Tamar and Tavy valleys beginning here and running on as far as folio 58 verso (D10289; CXXXVII 55a), probably made in the summer of 1813 in conjunction with those in the smaller Devon Rivers, No.1 sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CXXXII), which contains a similar view of Cotehele House and the tower from a lower vantage point (Tate D09656; Turner Bequest CXXXII 141). Devon Rivers, No.1 is covered in the section of the present catalogue specifically devoted to Turner’s 1813 visit to Devon, where further information on Turner’s work in the locality will be found.

Matthew Imms
May 2011

See ‘Cotehele’, National Trust, accessed 23 May 2011,
Cook and Kirk 2009, p.31.

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