Joseph Mallord William Turner

Land’s End: Longships Lighthouse from Dr Syntax’s Head


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 139 × 215 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXV 51

Catalogue entry

The view is to the west from the cliffs of Dr Syntax’s Head, the most westerly point at Land’s End. The distant lighthouse, about a mile off shore, had been erected on the Longships rocks in 1795, although it was rebuilt in 1875.1 The rocks high on the left and those towards the bottom right are seen again from a different angle in the view to the north on folio 28 recto (D41304). For other views at and around Land’s End, see under folio 22 recto (D08941; CXXV 50, bound as CXXV a 22).
This sketch and the one on folio 22 recto, now part of the Cornwall and Devon sketchbook, are noted at the end of Finberg’s 1909 Inventory entries for the Ivy Bridge to Penzance sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CXXV) as two ‘extra leaves’: ‘The book to which they belong does not appear to be in the collection. They are therefore placed here for convenience of reference.’2 He numbered them CXXV 50 and 51, apparently because Ruskin had already inscribed them with the same Arabic numbers.
As discussed in the introduction, all the pages of the present ‘sketchbook’ appear to have originally been loose sheets, and most are not recorded in Finberg’s Inventory. He subsequently noted this subject again as ‘Lands End. (Entered as p.51. CXXV.)’ in a manuscript listing of the whole sketchbook,3 while C.F. Bell described it in his own notes as ‘Lands End and Longships Lighthouse’.4
There is a slight drawing on the verso (D41299).
‘Longships Lighthouse’, Trinity House, accessed 22 February 2011,
Finberg 1909, I, p.356.
A.J. Finberg, MS addenda, [circa 1928–39], tipped into a copy of his Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, opposite p.356, as CXXV(a) 16.
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 23.
Technical notes:
The sheet is slightly wrinkled, possibly as a result of exposure to damp. Like folio 22, it has darkened and is irregularly stained. When Tate accession numbers were allotted to Turner Bequest works, this page was initially numbered D41298, in sequence with others in the book, but as it was already numbered D08942 in the context of Ivy Bridge to Penzance, the latter number was retained and the new one cancelled as redundant.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

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