Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ilfracombe from the Torrs


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 141 × 215 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXV a 61

Catalogue entry

Turner’s viewpoint is the slopes of the Torrs, west of Ilfracombe, looking east along the coast to the town. The tower of Holy Trinity Church is seen towards the right, with Widmouth Hill in the distance above it. To the left of the centre is St Nicholas’s Chapel on Lantern Hill above the harbour, with Hillsborough and Rillage Point on the far side and the coast beyond Combe Martin in the distance. There is a view towards Lundy, in the opposite direction, on the verso (D41343), and a similar view from nearer the town on folio 88 verso (D41371). See under folio 37 recto (D41314) for other Ilfracombe views.
As discussed in the introduction, the pages of this ‘sketchbook’ appear to have originally been loose sheets, and are not recorded in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory of the Bequest, although he subsequently noted the subject as ‘Rocky coast from cliffs’ in a manuscript listing,1 while C.F. Bell described it similarly in his own notes as ‘Rocky cliffs’.2 Figures usually corresponding to Finberg’s MS catalogue page numbers, which differ from Bell’s sequence, are inscribed on the verso of most sheets.
A.J. Finberg, MS addenda, [circa 1928–39], tipped into a copy of his A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, opposite p.356, as CXXV(a) 67.
C.F. Bell, MS addenda, [after 1928], tipped into a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, p.356B, as CXXVa 61.
Technical notes:
The sheet has been creased at the bottom edge. There are glue stains at the corners and it is slightly wrinkled, possibly as a result of exposure to damp.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

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