Joseph Mallord William Turner

Cowes Castle


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 112 × 192 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXVI 69 a

Catalogue entry

The drawing is inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation. It is the clearest view in this sketchbook of Cowes Castle, shown among trees above its castellated barbican overlooking the west side of the entrance to the River Medina. Built by Henry VIII and since much extended and transformed almost out of recognition after is 1855 decommissioning, it serves as the headquarters of the Royal Yacht Squadron.1 The barbican, which features inconspicuously in the right foreground of Turner’s painting notionally focusing rather on East Cowes Castle, the Seat of J. Nash, Esq.; the Regatta Starting for their Moorings, exhibited in at the Royal Academy in 1828 (Victoria and Albert Museum, London),2 now stands above a pedestrian section of the Esplanade.
There is a drawing from a similar viewpoint, placing the castle in a wider setting, on the recto (D20707; Turner Bequest CCXXVI 69). See also folios 1 verso, 18 verso, 20 verso, 21 verso, 27 verso, 32 verso, 42 verso, 56 verso, 70 verso, the recto of the present leaf, and folios 73 verso and 84 recto (D20597, D20623, D20627, D20629, D20640, D20648, D20662, D20683, D20704, D20707, D20710, D20729; Turner Bequest CCXXVI 1a, 17a, 19a, 20a, 26a, 31a, 40a, 53a, 67a, 69, 70a, 80).
For more on studies in this sketchbook relating to the regatta events at Cowes from late July 1827 onwards, see the Introduction.

Matthew Imms
November 2015

See ‘Cowes Castle’, Royal Yacht Squadron, accessed 15 December 2014,
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.150–1 no.243, pl.247 (colour).

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