Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Land’s End


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 506 × 615 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLXV 35

Catalogue entry

This is one of eight ‘colour beginnings’ catalogued here as Land’s End subjects; the others are Tate D25129, D25163, D25165, D25172, D25274, D36323 and D36324 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 7, 41, 43, 50, 152, CCCLXV 32, 33). A further colour study has been proposed as a Land’s End view among other possibilities (Tate D25185; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 63). For Turner’s 1811 pencil sketches at Land’s End, see under D25129.
Eric Shanes has suggested that the present work, D25163, D25165 and D25274 (CCLXIII 41, 43, 152) relate in varying degrees to the watercolour Longships Lighthouse, Land’s End of about 1834 (J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles),1 engraved in 1836 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (no impressions held at Tate).2 The most closely related pencil study in the 1811 Cornwall and Devon sketchbook (albeit with many variations) is Tate D41303 (Turner Bequest CXXV a 27).
The present composition is loose and unresolved, with much of it worked wet in wet, although the fundamentals of a cliff to the right of a stormy sky and sea roughly correspond with the England and Wales design.
See also the introductions to the present subsection of identified subjects and the overall England and Wales ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which this work has been assigned.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.401 no.864, reproduced.
See Shanes 1997, pp.97, 98, 102, 107.
Technical notes:
Peter Bower notes that this is a watercolour paper made by the Hollingworth brothers at Turkey Mill, Maidstone, Kent, and is part of an Imperial-format sheet (averaging 22 x 30 inches, or 558 x 762 mm).1
Bower 1999, pp.48, 49.
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘ccclxv. 35’ bottom centre. The sheet has darkened towards the left and is rubbed and stained.

Matthew Imms
March 2013

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