Joseph Mallord William Turner

East Cowes Castle from the South, with Figures below the Lawn in the Foreground


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Chalk and pen and ink on paper
Support: 140 × 191 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLX 11

Catalogue entry

The view is northwards towards East Cowes Castle, with the main tower over the ‘octagon room’ flanked by conservatories. Groups of figures take their ease on the slopes below the garden; compare in particular Tate D20812 (Turner Bequest CCXXVII a 9), and see also D20828 (CCXXVII a 25).
Having been exhibited as a French subject in the nineteenth century, like several others in the present subsection this drawing was categorised in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory in one of the sections of works on blue paper ‘mostly connected with “French Rivers”’.1 It is among dozens of blue paper studies made in and around East Cowes Castle, presumably during the same visit. For more on the various aspects of the house (demolished in about 1950), and its lost grounds as depicted by Turner, see the Introduction to this subsection.
See Finberg 1909, II, pp.806–13, CCLX, ‘Pencil and ink on blue paper: mostly connected with “French Rivers” series’, c.1830; but see Butlin, Wilton and Gage 1974, p.102, Warrell 1989, p.148 and Warrell 1999, pp.30, 253 note 84, linking this sheet to the Isle of Wight.
Technical notes:
There are signs of water damage where the ink has run in a regular area at the centre, apparently indicating that the sheet was mounted at the time of the 1928 flood at the Tate Gallery.
Blank; inscribed ?by John Ruskin in red ink ‘496’ bottom left; inscribed in pencil ‘cclx 1 ?’ (sic) bottom right.

Matthew Imms
November 2015

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