Joseph Mallord William Turner

Crowhurst Park


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 200 × 323 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXVIII 8

Display caption

Painting and drawing subjects for commissioned engravings took up much
of Turner's time. Many of his sketching tours were made in order to collect visual material for topographical picturesque views. The completed engraving made from this
sketch hangs nearby. It shows how closely the finished design resembles Turner's
first compositional ideas.


The picture is dominated by the central
trees but just visible, stretching along Pevensey Bay beyond, are a number
of round Martello Towers. This chain of defensive constructions, built during the Napoleonic wars, is still a feature of this
part of the southern coast.


Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

This drawing served as the basis for the watercolour Pevensey Bay, from Crowhurst Park made circa 1813 for John Fuller (private collection)1 and engraved by William Bernard Cooke in 1816 for Views in Sussex. The view is towards Bexhill and around Pevensey Bay to Beachy Head. Martello towers are visible along the distant shore. Crowhurst Park, which stands on the left, as the seat of Henry Pelham, Crown Commissioner for Customs. His kinsman the Hon. Charles Pelham bought Turner’s Wreck of a Transport Ship (Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon)2 in 1810 and succeeded his father, another patron, as Lord Yarborough in 1823. Turner was also familiar with the family’s Lincolnshire estate at Brocklesby Park.
Ramsay Richard Reinagle, in his letterpress for this subject in Views in Sussex, observed:
The spot affords nothing of a bustling nature, but on the contrary, is rather solitary; nevertheless the Artist has contrived to give it a twofold expression: first by a strict observation of the local character, and, in the second place, by a mid-day repose of men and animals; the former at their repast, as we conclude by the deserted implements of toil and labour; and the latter resting during noon-day heat. The sky admirably assists the effect: clouds are forming by the sultry heat, through which the sun throws its piercing rays.
The drawing gives no hint of these refinements and as always it is interesting to see how far Turner brought his memory or imagination to bear on the resulting watercolour.
A left-hand page from the sketchbook, this joins up with D10328; Turner Bequest CXXXVIII 9 which continues the drawing to the right..
Wilton 1979, p.348 no.426.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.128–9 no.210 (pl.213).

David Blayney Brown
April 2011

Read full Catalogue entry

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