Joseph Mallord William Turner

Okehampton Castle from the South-East


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 179 × 254 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXIV 70

Catalogue entry

The castle is seen from the south-east, across the West Okement Valley. While noting this sketch in passing in relation to the watercolour Okehampton, on the Okement of about 1824 (Tate D18138; Turner Bequest CCVIII E),1 engraved in 1825 for The Rivers of England (see under folio 64 recto; D09872; Turner Bequest CXXXIV 71), Andrew Wilton cites it as the direct source of the watercolour Okehampton, Devonshire of about 1826 (National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne),2 engraved in 1828 for Turner’s Picturesque Views in England and Wales. However, the relative disposition of elements of the ruins in the watercolour suggest it shows a view from the south or south-west – compare folio 63 recto (D09816; Turner Bequest CXXXIV 24).
For other views of the town and castle at Okehampton, see under folio 59 recto (D09814; Turner Bequest CXXXIV 22).
Wilton 1979, p.385 no.738, reproduced.
Ibid., p.393 no.802, reproduced.
Technical notes:
The page has darkened from long exposure on exhibition, with a strip unaffected along the top edge where it was protected by the mount.
Blank, save for inscriptions: by John Ruskin in red ink ‘935’ bottom left; and in pencil ‘117’ bottom centre. The recto is one of eight drawings from this sketchbook lent to Oxford University in the nineteenth century (for the others see the sketchbook’s Introduction). Each has a large pencil number inscribed on the back which presumably relates to this loan, although they do not tally with the Oxford catalogue numbers; the verso’s surface is marked by extensive glue stains, presumably having been pasted down for display.

Matthew Imms
July 2014

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