Joseph Mallord William Turner

Levens Estuary and Coniston Old Man from the Shore near Conishead Priory


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 173 × 260 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXLVIII 33 a

Catalogue entry

This is the left part of a double-page spread continued to the right on folio 13 recto (D11581; Turner Bequest CXLVIII 34, now bound opposite), recording the view north and north-east across the Levens Estuary, from the shore near Conishead Priory with Coniston Old Man in the distance to the left. The present writer had previously identified the viewpoint as near Canal Foot, near Ulverston, which is close by, but a little further north, and dated this sketch to Tuesday 6 August 1816. The hill in the right distance of the present sheet is the ridge of Fairfield, seen in raking light from the left, setting the time of day as evening.
Eric Shanes, in his 1979 discussion of the sketch, tentatively identified it as the source for the background of the watercolour Lancaster Sands (British Museum, London)1 painted about 1825 for Turner’s series of Picturesque Views in England and Wales. This looks possible and would be appropriate to the subject, but if so, Turner has adapted the material with some freedom.

David Hill
May 2009

Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, p.393 no.803.

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