Joseph Mallord William Turner

Plymouth Dock and the Hamoaze from Mount Edgcumbe


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 166 × 208 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXV 11

Catalogue entry

The view is to the north from the middle gateway of three on the western perimeter of the Mount Edgcumbe estate. The pillar with its triangular pediment is one of a pair which still stand, and the wall, now overgrown with ivy, follows the curve of the road; the trees opposite are too thick to allow a clear view from this point but the distant prospect can be seen from a little further down. Plymouth Dock (now Devonport) is seen across the Hamoaze (the Tamar Estuary) running around it from the left and across the middle distance towards Plymouth Sound, out of sight to the right. On the opposite bank is Torpoint, with Saltash beyond it. The hills of Dartmoor rise beyond, with Bren Tor on the skyline to the right of the two central trees, about nineteen miles inland.1
The trees are continued a little way to the left onto folio 11 verso (D08876; CXXV 10a). Finberg notes that the double-page sketch is the basis of the watercolour Plymouth Dock from Mount Edgecumbe of about 1814 (Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery),2 engraved in 1816 for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England3 (see the concordance of the series in the 1811 tour introduction). However, Turner only followed the drawing on the present page, effectively ignoring the additional branches opposite.
This is one of a series of sketches of Plymouth and nearby districts, running from folio 3 recto (D08866; CXXV 2) to folio 14 recto (D08880; CXXV 13); see the entry for the first of these for other Plymouth views.
See Shanes 1981, p.[24].
Wilton 1979, p.352 no.456, reproduced.
Finberg 1909, I, p.355; see also Wilton 1979, p.352, and Shanes 1981, p.152.
Technical notes:
Some brown spotting is apparent.

Matthew Imms
February 2011

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