Joseph Mallord William Turner

Newbridge, Gunnislake and the Tamar Valley


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 181 × 228 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXVII 46 a

Catalogue entry

This sketch, inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, informs the middle distance Turner’s large painting Crossing the Brook, exhibited in 1815 (Tate N00497).1 The view is south from the Cornish bank of the River Tamar, which marks the border with Devon, with the ‘Caledonia’ granary,2 also on the Cornish side at the right-hand end of the bridge, which is shaded to indicate sunlight, as in the subsequent painting. There are mine workings above to the right, with Chimney Rock high on the opposite bank and the tower of Calstock Church lightly indicated on the skyline above the left-hand end of the bridge.
There is a more detailed view on folio 50 verso (D10273; CXXXVII 47a), clear of the trees framing the view here, which may have suggested those which stand on the left of the vertical painting, towering above a foreground which seems largely invented. Turner’s work in preparation for the painting and the history of the locality have been discussed in detail by Diana Cook and Dorothy Kirk,3 although of the sketches of Newbridge in the present book they only mention that on folio 50 verso (see also folios 47 verso and 48 verso; D10267, D10269; CXXXVII 44a, 45a).
The sketchbook contains numerous views in and around the Tamar and Tavy valleys between folios 46 verso (D10265; CXXXVII 43a) and 58 verso (D10289; CXXXVII 55a), probably made in the summer of 1813 in conjunction with those in the smaller Devon Rivers, No.1 sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CXXXII). The latter is covered in the section of the present catalogue specifically devoted to Turner’s 1813 visit to Devon, where further information on Turner’s work in the locality will be found.

Matthew Imms
May 2011

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.93–4 no.130, pl.123 (colour).
See Diana Cook and Dorothy Kirk, Turner in the Tamar Valley: Following in Turner’s Footsteps along the River Tamar, Drakewalls 2009, pp.16, 18.
See ibid., pp.16–23, 40–9.

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