Joseph Mallord William Turner

Norris Castle from the Solent, with East Cowes Castle Beyond; a Sailing Boat


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 74 × 100 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCVII 1 a

Catalogue entry

At the top of the page, Norris Castle is seen from the north-east across the Solent. Built in mock-medieval style by James Wyatt (1746–1813) between about 1799 and 1805 for the politician Lord Henry Seymour (1746–1830),1 it stands on the coast of the Isle of Wight a little to the north-east of East Cowes, adjacent to the grounds of Osborne House. The view continues on folio 2 recto opposite (D17993); see also a possible distant view on folio 54 recto (D18093).
Neither of the views Finberg tentatively identified as ‘Norris Point’ and ‘Norris Castle’2 in the contemporary Isle of Wight sketchbook (Tate D20757, D20781; Turner Bequest CCXXVII 16a, 31) show the castle and its setting; rather they are respectively views from and of John Nash’s nearby East Cowes Castle (which does not survive), also seen in distant prospects later in the present book (see under folio 21 recto; D18028), and apparently in the distance on the left of this page. Conversely, in the 1827 Windsor and Cowes, Isle of Wight sketchbook there is a similar clear view of Norris Castle from the sea (Tate D20658; Turner Bequest CCXXVI 38), which Finberg wrongly identified as East Cowes;3 the slight sketch opposite that one (Tate D20657; Turner Bequest CCXXVI 37a) is also likely to show Norris Castle (Tate D20657; Turner Bequest CCXXVI 37a); see also Tate D20668, D20673, D20679 and D20681 (Turner Bequest CCXXVI 44a, 48, 52, 52b).
Below is a study of a small sailing boat, made with the page turned vertically. For more on studies in this sketchbook relating to the regatta events at Cowes from late July 1827 onwards, see the sketchbook Introduction.
See David W. Lloyd and Nikolaus Pevsner, The Isle of Wight, The Buildings of England, revised ed., New Haven and London 2006, pp.195–6.
Finberg 1909, II, p.699.
Ibid., p.696.
Technical notes:
The fore-edge has suffered a small loss corresponding to the position of the clasp inside the adjacent front cover.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like

In the shop