Joseph Mallord William Turner

Saltram House and its Park


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 140 × 215 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXV a 2

Catalogue entry

Saltram’s Georgian mansion and its outbuildings, now in the care of the National Trust,1 are seen from the west up the slopes of its park, bordering the Laira or Plym Estuary between Plymouth and Plympton; the view is now obscured by trees. Separate roofline details appear towards the top right. There are sketches made at Plympton and Plymouth in the Devonshire Coast, No.1 sketchbook (see in particular Tate D08561, D08567; Turner Bequest CXXIII 101a, 104a), also used on Turner’s 1811 West Country tour. He attended a concert at the house during his return visit to Devon in 1813,2 and there are views of the house and its locality in the Plymouth, Hamoaze and Devon Rivers, No.2 sketchbooks used in that year – see under Tate D09306 (Turner Bequest CXXXI 81) and Tate D09716 (Turner Bequest CXXXIII 40) respectively.
As discussed in the introduction, the pages of this ‘sketchbook’ appear to have originally been loose sheets, and are not recorded in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory of the Bequest, although he subsequently noted the subject as ‘Mansion on hillside’ in a manuscript listing,3 while C.F. Bell correctly identified it in his own notes as ‘Saltram House’.4 Figures usually corresponding to Finberg’s MS catalogue page numbers, which differ from Bell’s sequence, are inscribed on the verso of most sheets. This is the only identified view in South Devon, the rest of the subjects being from West and North Cornwall and North Devon.
See ‘Saltram’, National Trust, accessed 27 May 2011,
See Sam Smiles, ‘The Devonshire Oil Sketches of 1813’, Turner Studies, vol.9, no.1, Summer 1989, p.10.
A.J. Finberg, MS addenda, [circa 1928–39], tipped into a copy of his A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, opposite p.356, as CXXV(a) 43.
C.F. Bell, MS addenda, [after 1928], tipped into a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, p.356A, as CXXVa 2.
Technical notes:
The sheet is slightly wrinkled, possibly as a result of exposure to damp.
Blank, save for inscriptions: inscribed by C.F. Bell in pencil ‘Saltram House (?)’ bottom left; inscribed by Edwin Fagg in pencil ‘144 | 43’ bottom right. There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like

In the shop