Joseph Mallord William Turner

Creux Harbour, Sark Island

?1832

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 114 x 187 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D23647
Turner Bequest CCLII 67

Catalogue entry

Inverted in relation to the sketchbook as foliated, the apparently continuous sketch at the top of this page depicts Creux on the south-east coast of Sark where a small summer harbour had been established. In the centre of the scene, Turner reminded himself with a note of the position of the harbour pier. The centre and left-hand side of the page are dominated by the ‘almost perpendicular cliffs which overhang and surround’ this ‘romantic spot’.1 At the base of this large formation, towards the bottom left-hand corner, can be glimpsed the opening of a small tunnel, indicated by a small semi-circular mark which gave access to the island’s higher ground. To the right-hand side is featured the tower-like rocky outcrop which, as outlined in the entry for folio 66 recto (D23645; Turner Bequest CCLII 66), Turner seems to have termed the Sphinx’s Head. This tiny bay constitutes one of the volume’s major preoccupations; for a list of these drawings, see the entry for folio 58 recto (D23629; Turner Bequest CCLII 58).
The smaller sketch of a sail-boat before high cliffs is a continuation of a scene on folio 66 verso opposite (D23646; Turner Bequest CCLII 66a).

John Chu
April 2014

1
J.T. Cochrane, A Guide to the Island of Guernsey, St Peter Port 1826, p.139.

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