Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Saltram House and the Laira Valley


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 95 × 157 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXI 148 a

Catalogue entry

With the page turned horizontally, this drawing is part of a sequence working in from the back cover of the sketchbook, which correlates with accounts of a voyage Turner and others made from Plymouth south-east to Burgh Island, returning by land from Kingsbridge (see folio 252 verso; D09430; Turner Bequest CXXXI 163a) towards Plymouth. The sequence begins on folio 275 (D09476; Turner Bequest CXXXI 186a), under which the overall trip is discussed, and may extend as far as folio 228 verso (Tate D09382; Turner Bequest CXXXI 139a). The subject here may be Saltram House on the hill to the left, looking west down the Laira (the Plym Estuary) in the direction of Plymouth. Compare the slighter drawing on folio 235 verso (D09396; Turner Bequest CXXXI 146a).
Diana Cook and Dorothy Kirk followed Finberg in their caption, but describe the drawing as ‘Cotehele, seen from Calstock’ on the Tamar north of Plymouth with ‘the cleft of Danescombe’ on the right, and include a comparative photograph by Kirk.1 However, the identification appears incorrect given the context and features of the sketch described above.

Matthew Imms
April 2014

Cook and Kirk 2009, p.30.

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