Joseph Mallord William Turner

Great Torrington from the Torridge Valley


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 90 × 152 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXII 80

Catalogue entry

About five miles south-east of Bideford (see folio 76 recto; D09561), Great Torrington, the site of a Civil War battle in 1646, stands on a ridge high above the Common sloping down to the north bank of the River Torridge. The sketches between here and folio 88 recto (D09575) were made around the town, while the church on folio 88 verso (D09576) may be nearby. There are also views in the contemporary Devonshire Rivers, No. 3, and Wharfedale sketchbook (Tate D09809, D09810, and possibly D09829; Turner Bequest CXXXIV 18, 18a, 36).
Here, Turner looks north-west down the valley of the River Torridge, from around the site of New Bridge, built in the 1840s1 near the Town Mills. To left the tower on the skyline, seen in other drawings here, appears to be the gazebo or belvedere which still stands beside the bowling green on the site of the medieval castle off Castle Street.2 To the right of the dip in the centre is Castle Hill. There is a more extensive version of the view on folios 81 recto and 82 recto (D09567, D09568).
See Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, Devon, The Buildings of England, revised ed., New Haven and London 2002, p.460.
See ibid., p.463.
Technical notes:
There is some staining to the right-hand edge of the leaf.

Matthew Imms
June 2014

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