Joseph Mallord William Turner

Herstmonceux Castle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Chalk and graphite on paper
Support: 128 × 201 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XCI 39

Catalogue entry

Dating from the fifteenth century, Herstmonceux Castle was formerly the seat of the Fiennes family, Lords Dacre. It was sold to the Naylor family and in 1777 Robert Hare Naylor, advised by the architect Samuel Wyatt, stripped and demolished the interiors, reducing the brick castle to a picturesque ruin. In 1807 it was bought by Thomas Read Kemp who kept it until 1819, his period of ownership probably coinciding with Turner’s explorations of the site. Views of it in this sketchbook run to folio 44 (D05661) and one in the Views in Sussex sketchbook (Tate D10324; Turner Bequest CXXXVIII 5) served for the watercolour (private collection)1 made for John Fuller and engraved (in open etching only) but not published for William Bernard Cooke’s Views in Sussex. Here, Turner seems to show the gatehouse, walls and bridge from across the moat. Turner has also sketched a ground plan of the castle walls inside the front cover (D40799).

The castle is now used by the International Study Centre of Queen’s University, Canada.
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, p.348 no.429).

David Blayney Brown
March 2011

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