after Joseph Mallord William Turner

Dunwich, for ‘East Coast of England’

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
After Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Etching on paper
Image: 172 × 255 mm
Purchased 1986

Catalogue entry

T04613 Dunwich, forPicturesque Views on the East Coast of England’ (unpublished) engr.J.C. Allen

Etching 172 × 255 (6 3/4 × 10 1/16) on India paper laid on wove paper 284 × 366 (11 3/16 × 14 3/8); plate-mark 225 × 319 (8 7/8 × 12 9/16)
Engraved inscriptions: ‘Drawn by J M W Turner Esqr’ below image b.l., ‘Etched by J.C. Allen,,’ below image b.r.
Purchased (Grant-in-Aid) 1986
Prov: ...; N.W. Lott and H.G. Gerrish Ltd, from whom bt by Tate Gallery
Lit: Rawlinson I 1908, no.309, etching

This is one of eight engravings listed by Rawlinson (nos.305–12) as intended for a series which he first described as ‘Holloway's Continuation of “England and Wales”’ (I 1908, pp.169–70), but later correctly retitled the ‘East Coast of England’ (II 1913, appendix, p.441). Three of the subjects were taken only as far as open etchings (R 307, 311–12), and none of the prints was published in Turner's lifetime. Ruskin stated that impressions of the prints were taken after Turner's death by the Fine Art Society (Notes on his Collection of Drawings by J.M.W. Turner, 1878, p.180, no.270). However, Rawlinson was told that it was a ‘Mr. Lewis Pocock’, the purchaser of the copper-plates and of Turner's preparatory drawings for the series, who was responsible for having the impressions taken, and that these were subsequently purchased by the Fine Art Society (Rawlinson I 1908, p.170).

Picturesque Views on the East Coast of England’ seems to have been planned as a sequel to W.B. Cooke's Southern Coast series, which was reaching its conclusion around 1826 (see under T 04370–04427). All eight plates for the ‘East Coast’ were engraved by J.C. Allen, an apprentice of Cooke's who had already engraved prints after Turner for the Southern Coast and for the Provincial Antiquities of Scotland, and who had helped Turner engrave the design for the wrapper of Views in Sussex.

The original designs for the engravings were executed by Turner in bodycolour on blue paper (Wilton 1979, nos.896–903), like those he was to make soon afterwards for ‘The Rivers of France’ (see under T 04678–04726). Two further, finished designs for the series are known, but were never engraved (Wilton 1979, no.904; Eric Shanes, Turner's England 1810–38, 1990, no.124), and there are related studies in the Turner Bequest (see Ian Warrell, Turner: The Fourth Decade: Watercolours 1820–1830, exh. cat., Tate Gallery 1991, p.57). The original watercolour for T 04613 is in the City Art Gallery, Manchester (Wilton 1979, no.900; E. Shanes, Turner's Rivers, Harbours and Coasts, 1981, no.92, repr. in col.).

When exactly Allen engraved ‘Dunwich’ and the other plates for the series is not clear. Shanes seems to believe that the project was started at some stage after Turner's bitter quarrel with W.B. Cooke early in 1827 (recorded in a letter from Cooke to Turner of 1 January 1827) over the remuneration Turner was to receive for the project; Turner wanted the twelve and a half guinea fee they had already negotiated for the ‘sequel’ designs to be backdated to include some of the watercolours he had recently made for the Southern Coast as well (see under introduction to T 04370–04427). In other words, Shanes assumes that Turner carried out his threat to Cooke (expressed in the letter) to bring out the sequel himself were he not to have his ‘terms’; and that he engaged Allen on an independent basis, intending to be his own publisher for the series, but in the end he had neither the time or inclination to be so (Shanes 1990, p.14). Shanes further draws attention to an advertisement which Cooke placed in the Examiner on Sunday, 7 January 1827, in which it was stated that the east and west coast series were to be published in separate numbers; this he interprets as a sign that Cooke was by then already floating the idea of an east and west coast venture without the painter's participation (ibid., p.15).

In fact, there is no way of knowing for certain when exactly in 1827 the quarrel between Turner and Cooke came to a head. The advertisement to which Shanes refers may well allude to the proposal to publish the sequel as originally envisaged (although no designs made by Turner specifically for a west coast project are known). For it was issued only a few days after Cooke had written his irate letter to Turner, and the two men may well at this time still have been attempting to patch up their quarrel. If this was in fact the case, then Allen may well already have started some of the plates, perhaps even the previous year. Shanes claims that the publishers J. and A. Arch had thought of supporting the ‘Eastern and Western Coast’ scheme (they had, of course, published the later plates of the Southern Coast) and pulled out when Turner broke off relations with Cooke (ibid., p.15 and n.73). Perhaps, then, the project simply foundered at this stage, and Turner never even attempted to publish the series himself.

Two further prints from the series, ‘Lowestoffe Lighthouse’ and ‘Orfordness’ (R 305 and 310), were acquired by the Tate Gallery in 1992 (T 06613–06614), and will be catalogued at a later date.

Published in:
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986-88, London 1996


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