Joseph Mallord William Turner

Morwellham and the Tamar Valley


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 90 × 152 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXII 140 a

Catalogue entry

Although Diana Cook and Dorothy Kirk follow Finberg’s wording in their caption, their text identifies the view as towards Morwellham, then a port serving the local mines, looking east along the Tamar from below Calstock Church (rather than showing Calstock itself); they reproduce an 1896 photograph of the scene, before it was obscured by trees in the foreground.1 The hills above Morwellham are visible from Windy Hill, on the road below the later railway bridge north-west of Calstock’s parish church, but Turner’s viewpoint must have been higher to be looking down on the river and village.
The slight forms of the right-hand quarter or so of the panoramic double-page drawing looking north and north-east up the Tamar towards Gunnislake, across folio 139 verso and the recto of the present leaf (D09653, D09654), may represent the bare outlines of the present view, suggesting that Turner used the same or adjacent vantage points for both sketches, simply turning further to his right to take in Morwellham here.
For other views along the Tamar Valley, see under folio 114 verso (D09606).

Matthew Imms
June 2014

Cook and Kirk 2009, p.36, together with a modern photograph of the approximate view by Kirk.

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