Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Peak District Hills or a Cave, Perhaps Peak Cavern, Castleton; Sketch Map of the Peak District


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 191 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXXIX 21

Catalogue entry

At the outer edge, with the page turned vertically, is a slight sketch of looping or undulating forms, possibly indicating a cave such as the Peak Cavern below Peveril Castle at Castleton (seen on adjacent pages), for which see under folio 1 verso (D22152). Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the sketch map occupying most of the page focuses on an area roughly fifteen miles across and twelve from north to south in the middle of the Peak District. Sheffield is indicated to the north-east in a slight continuation on folio 20 verso opposite (D22186).
Finberg (died 1939) correctly amended his earlier reading ‘Burton’ as ‘?Buxton’ in undated manuscript notes in a copy of his 1909 Inventory,1 and also observed ‘Hathersage is where Holworthy lived’.2 In his subsequent Life of Turner, he incorrectly assumed that Turner had used this sketchbook around Castleton and the Derbyshire part of the Peak District in the summer of 1830 – see the Introduction to the present sketchbook, and the ‘Midlands 1830’ section of this catalogue, comprising the Kenilworth and Birmingham and Coventry sketchbooks (Tate; Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII, CCXL). Finberg quoted Turner’s letter of 7 November 1830 to his artist friend James Holworthy (1781–1841) at Brookfield Manor, about a mile north of Hathersage, below the moors south-west of Sheffield and some five miles east of Castleton: ‘I could not get as far north as your worship’s residence.’3 This would be rather disingenuous of Turner had he been so close in 1830, but the most northerly identified subject sketched that year, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, lies just outside Derbyshire, some forty miles south of Hathersage as the crow flies, making his excuse for being ‘delinquent with [Holworthy’s] invitations’4 understandable on that occasion.
Turner sketched at some of the places on the map. Castleton has already been mentioned; for Buxton, see under folio 52 verso (D22246); for Bakewell, folio 30 verso (D22205); for Chatsworth, folio 43 verso (D22231); and for Haddon Hall, folio 24 recto (D22192).

Matthew Imms
April 2014

A.J. Finberg, undated MS notes in a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.II, p.734.
Ibid., additional leaf opposite p.734.
Finberg 1961, p.323; see also John Gage, Collected Correspondence of J.M.W. Turner with an Early Diary and a Memoir by George Jones, Oxford 1980, p.139 letter no.164; for more on Holworthy see Herrmann 1981, p.47 and Gage 1987, p.246 note 8.
Finberg 1961, p.323; Gage 1980, p.139.

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