Joseph Mallord William Turner

Poole Harbour, with Corfe Castle in the Distance


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 75 × 117 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXIII 14

Catalogue entry

Travelling west from Christchurch (see the rectos of folios 22, 24, 27, 31, 32 and 34; D08403, D08406, D08411, D08419, D08421, D08425), Turner approached Poole and looked south-west past the town across Poole Harbour to the Isle of Purbeck. The viewpoint has been identified by Eric Shanes as Canford Heath, above Fleets Corner; the foreground of the ‘very meagre’ sketch is much simplified.1 Howard Hanley places Turner’s position on Constitution Hill, a little to the south-east.2 Corfe Castle appears on the left, roughly eight miles away, commanding its gap in the ridge of the Purbeck Hills; there is another view in the same direction on folio 16 recto (D08391). The castle was soon to be the subject of a series of closely observed drawings in the Corfe to Dartmouth sketchbook – see the entry there for Tate D08826 (Turner Bequest CXXIV 17) for details.
The present drawing formed the basis of the watercolour of about 1812 (private collection),3 engraved in 1814 for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England as Poole, Dorsetshire4 (see the concordance of the series in the 1811 tour introduction). Poole Harbour is also recorded from the south among the Purbeck studies in the Corfe to Dartmouth sketchbook (Tate D08817; Turner Bequest CXXIV 10). Turner wrote about Poole and the harbour in his verses on folios 50 verso and 53 verso (D08458, D08464).

Matthew Imms
June 2011

Shanes 1981, p.23; ‘drawings of Poole’ in this sketchbook are mentioned but not specified in Wilton 1979, p.351.
Hanley 1992, p.20, with a modern photograph of the view (‘Cat.5’).
Wilton 1979, pp.350–1 no.446, reproduced; unspecified ‘drawings of Poole’ in this sketchbook are mentioned, p.351.
Shanes 1981, p.152.

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