Joseph Mallord William Turner

Land’s End: Dr Syntax’s Head with the Longships Lighthouse Beyond


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 140 × 215 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXV a 25

Catalogue entry

Dr Syntax’s Head is seen from Trevescan Cliff, north of Land’s End, looking west to the Longships. A similar view by Samuel Owen was engraved as a large vignette for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England (Tate impressions: T05434, T05435; see the introduction to Turner’s 1811 tour for concordance). For other views in this sketchbook at and around Land’s End, see under folio 22 recto (D08941; CXXV 50, bound as CXXV a 22).
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 mistakenly noted the subject as ‘Cliffs: Mounts Bay’ in a manuscript listing,1 while C.F. Bell described it correctly in his own notes as ‘Lands End and Longships Lighthouse’.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) 11.
C.F. Bell, MS addenda, [after 1928], tipped into a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, p.356A, as CXXVa 25.
Technical notes:
The sheet is slightly wrinkled, possibly as a result of exposure to damp.
Blank, save for inscriptions: inscribed by C.F. Bell in pencil ‘Land’s End & Longships Lighthouse’ bottom left; inscribed by Edwin Fagg in pencil ‘110 | 11’ bottom right. There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

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