Joseph Mallord William Turner

Loophole Tower, Guernsey; Town Buildings; Essex Castle. Alderney


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLII 85 a

Catalogue entry

Turner sketched at least three distinct views onto this page. At the top of the page is an apparently continuous view of a coastline punctuated by various architectural features including one of Guernsey’s distinctive eighteenth-century ‘loophole’ towers. 1 The sketch of battlements with round towers in the bottom right-hand corner of the page, inverted in relation to the sketchbook as foliated, depicts Essex Castle on neighbouring Alderney Island.2 This unfinished Elizabethan fortress recurs on folio 91 verso (D23696; Turner Bequest CCLII 91a).
In the centre of the page, also inverted in relation to the sketchbook as foliated, is a cluster of tall gable-ended buildings next to a round, basin-like structure. The most substantial such settlement on the Channel Islands featured in this sketchbook is the town of St Peter Port, Guernsey although Turner also used this volume to study built-up areas of Hampshire and Normandy.
W.H. Clements, Towers of Strength: the Story of the Martello Towers, Barnsley 1999, p.85.
Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England, London 1831, vol.II,.p.262.
Technical notes:
There are very small dots of red ink in the bottom left-hand corner.

John Chu
April 2014

Read full Catalogue entry


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