Diana Cook and Dorothy Kirk have identified the scene as the Tamar Valley with Endsleigh Cottage, south-west of Milton Abbot on the Devon side, about half way between Launceston and Gunnislake (roughly six miles to the north-west and south-east respectively as the crow flies).1 The house, now a hotel, was designed in 1810 by Jeffry Wyatt (later Sir Jeffry Wyatville) as a Picturesque cottage orné for the Dowager Duchess of Bedford, amid grounds designed by Humphry Repton within a wider setting of plantations along the river,2 and so would have been brand new at the time of Turner’s visit.
Although Cook and Kirk suggest Castle Head (about half a mile west of the house) as the viewpoint,3 the slight but recognisable elements of the house recorded here appear to comprise its south façade; Turner was probably on the eastern, Devon bank in the grounds above the Tamar, which passes immediately below the house before turning south, as apparently indicated here towards the right. The Cornish side to the left is now covered by the dense Wareham Wood, making the exact viewpoint difficult to establish. There are closer views on folio 130 recto opposite, where the present sketch continues a little, and folio 130 verso (D09635, D09636).
The Bedford estate is mentioned in a note in the contemporary Devon Rivers, No.2 sketchbook (Tate D09732; Turner Bequest CXXXIII 51a).
For other views along the Tamar Valley, see under folio 114 verso (D09606).
Cook and Kirk 2001 pp.47–8; Diana Cook and Dorothy Kirk, Turner in the Tamar Valley: Following in Turner’s Footsteps along the River Tamar, Drakewalls 2009, pp.52–4.
Nikolaus Pevsner, South Devon, The Buildings of England, Harmondsworth 1952, p.127.
Cook and Kirk 2001 p.49, reproducing modern photograph from Castle Head by Cook; see also Diana Cook and Dorothy Kirk, Turner in the Tamar Valley: Following in Turner’s Footsteps along the River Tamar, Drakewalls 2009, p.54, with detail of same photograph.