Joseph Mallord William Turner

Land’s End: Longships Lighthouse and the Armed Knight from Carn Greeb


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 24

Catalogue entry

The view is westwards towards the Longships rocks, with the Armed Knight formation just off the coast in the left foreground. The cluster of buildings now at Greeb Farm may include the one shown in the foreground here. For other views at and around Land’s End, see under folio 22 recto (D08941; CXXV 50, bound as CXXV a 22).
Eric Shanes has suggested that Turner consulted this and others among the drawings from folio 23 recto to folio 29 recto (D08942, D41301–D41305) in the process of making three loose, dramatically lit ‘colour beginnings’ of Land’s End (Tate D25129, D25172, D36324; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 7, 50, CCCLXV b 33) in about 1834, working towards his watercolour Longships Lighthouse, Land’s End (J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles),1 engraved in 1836 for the series Picturesque Views in England and Wales.2 The sketch on folio 27 recto (D41303) is the closest to the finished watercolour.
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 with St. Michs Mt. in dist.’ in a manuscript listing,3 while C.F. Bell described it correctly in his own notes as ‘Lands End and Longships Lighthouse’.4 Figures usually corresponding to Finberg’s MS catalogue page numbers, which differ from Bell’s sequence, are inscribed on the verso of most sheets.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.401 no.864, reproduced.
Shanes 1997, pp.78–9; for the colour studies see pp.78–9 nos.67, 66 and 68 respectively, reproduced (colour).
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) 9.
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 24.
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 ‘Longships Lighthouse’ bottom left; inscribed by Edwin Fagg in pencil ‘108 | 9’ bottom right. There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

Read full Catalogue entry


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