Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ilfracombe from Widmouth Hill

1811

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 200 × 324 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D08947
Turner Bequest CXXVI 2

Catalogue entry

The sketch or sketches on this page are very slight. At the lower left is a tree, but its relation to the rest of the drawing is unclear. At the top left is an undulating skyline descending to the right of centre to a distant valley, with a town indicated by a few concentrated strokes. Turner’s inscription does seem to indicate ‘Ilfracombe’ or a close variant. The viewpoint appears to be Old Berrynarbor Road, south-west of the summit of Widmouth Hill on the route eastwards to Combe Martin (see D08949–D08951; CXXVI 4, 5, 5a), looking back towards Ilfracombe to the west with Hillsborough on the town’s near side and the coast at Torrs Park beyond.
There are other views in the Devonshire Coast, No.1 sketchbook (Tate D08753, D08755–D08757; Turner Bequest CXXIII 213a, 214a, 215, 215a) and in the Cornwall and Devon sketchbook (Tate D41314, D41316, D41317, D41321, D41342, D41371; Turner Bequest CXXV a 37, 38, 38, 42, 61, 88a), used on the same tour.
Technical notes:
The pencil work is made harder to read by the jagged tear bisecting the sheet from the top right to the bottom left, presumably the reason for its previously being stuck down on a thicker sheet of laid paper, which was removed in 2009 in the course of conservation work relating to the Turner Bequest cataloguing project. A loss along the tear, just over the horizon line of the sketch above the centre of the sheet, has been made good with tissue paper, as have other small losses.
There are five sets of stitch holes near the left-hand edge of the top sheet, which has a small piece missing at the bottom right corner, matching similar losses to adjacently numbered leaves (D08946, D08948–D08951, D40294, D40295; CXXVI 1, 3–5a) and to D08964 (CXXVI 18).
Verso:
Blank. There are localised abrasions at the points where the sheet was previously stuck down, making it very thin in places.

Matthew Imms
January 2011

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