Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Dunster Castle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 208 × 302 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXVI

Catalogue entry

The very slight and rapid drawing at the bottom right appears to be a profile of a building or buildings, with two vertical features which may be chimneys or towers. It has been cancelled, perhaps immediately, with a vigorous zig-zag line. Turner may have started the study while on the move – a so-called ‘carriage sketch’ – before abandoning it. Such crossings-out are rare among the drawings surviving in the Turner Bequest.
The inscription suggests its subject, though the sketch is too rough to make the connection certain. There are clear studies of the Somerset castle in the present sketchbook (D08953, D08955; CXXVI 7, 9), and distant views of Dunster scattered through the Devonshire Coast, No.1 sketchbook, although some of the identifications are less certain than others (Tate D08398, D08654, D08672, D08683, D08699, D08732, D08747, D08768; Turner Bequest CXXIII 19a, 153, 162a, 168a, 178v, 202, 210a, 225).
Technical notes:
The drawing is not listed by Finberg, and does not physically match the other leaves from the Somerset and North Devon sketchbook.1 It is not clear how or when this sheet came to be associated with them. It does not have the stitch holes common to the others, is thinner and of different proportions, and appears to have been part of a larger sheet, three edges being trimmed straight while the top is torn fairly roughly. There is some creasing and a little black spotting, and a tear to the left-hand edge.

Matthew Imms
January 2011

See A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.I, p.357, CXXVI.

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