Joseph Mallord William Turner

Dunster Castle and Blue Anchor Bay


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 200 × 324 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXVI 7

Display caption

'Dunster Castle' (no.72) was apparently elaborated from this sketchbook.

Gallery label, February 1997

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Catalogue entry

Turner’s viewpoint has been described by Eric Shanes as Dunster Park, looking across the plain of the River Avill to the castle and the Somerset coast, with South Wales visible on the horizon.1 The foreground remains as parkland today, while the castle was remodelled from 1868 onwards by Anthony Salvin,2 who introduced a taller central block in place of the range seen to the left here. Shanes has suggested that the present drawing is the basis for a freely painted ‘colour beginning’ (Tate D36222; Turner Bequest CCCLXIV a 360), listed by Finberg as ‘On the coast (Folkestone?)’.3 He dates the watercolour, watermarked 1833, to about 1834 and relates it to Turner’s series of Picturesque Views in England and Wales.4
The twin islands of Flat Holm and Steep Holm are seen to the north-east in the Bristol Channel across Bridgwater Bay, and also appear in the sketch on D08957 (CXXVI 11). There is a view of Dunster Castle from the Butter Cross west of the village on D08955 (CXXVI 9), and a rough drawing on D08945, catalogued with this sketchbook, is inscribed ‘Dunster Castle’. See the entry for the latter for further views of Dunster made on the same tour.
Shanes 1997, p.82.
‘Dunster Castle: A Brief History, National Trust, accessed 27 January 2011,
See Shanes 1997, p.82 no.72, reproduced (colour); Finberg 1909, II, p.1205.
Shanes 1997, pp.82, 96, 107.
Technical notes:
There are five sets of stitch holes near the left-hand edge. There is some staining at the top left, and finger marks at the bottom right.
Blank, save for inscription in pencil ‘D08953’ bottom left. Finger marks at the bottom left correspond with those on the recto.

Matthew Imms
January 2011

Read full Catalogue entry


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