Joseph Mallord William Turner

?East Cowes Castle, Isle of Wight


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache, watercolour and graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLII 3

Catalogue entry

Inverted in relation to the sketchbook as foliated, this pencil sketch of a wooded settlement sloping down to an expanse of water has been treated with a wash of grey watercolour and heightened with white chalk. Despite its detail, the scale of this topography is difficult to determine. Both Guernsey and the Seine valley abounded in waterside clusters of buildings and defensive structures; nonetheless the distinctive tower and turret which surmounts this terrain does not tally with other such structures sketched by Turner in those locations. Art historian Ian Warrell has proposed that some of the prospects featured in this part of the sketchbook were taken on the Isle of Wight, so this may be a view of East Cowes Castle from the River Medina.1 It certainly compares closely with a watercolour and gouache sketch of that view recorded in 1827; see Tate D20781 (Turner Bequest CCXXVII 31).

John Chu
April 2014

Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.36.

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