Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Sark Island; ?Rocquaine Bay, Guernsey


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLII 79 a

Catalogue entry

The five or more sketches on this page depict jagged rocks and coastal views with defensive structures. An inscription perhaps reading ‘Plymaston’ appears towards the left-hand side of the page although this location, in fact a now-defunct Pembrokeshire settlement, is probably a red herring in an attempt to identify these scenes. Rather, the two drawings of sharp-angled cliffs to the right of the page, each inverted in relation to the other, resemble the coastal terrain of Sark Island which was the subject of extensive study in this sketchbook. The sketch of a seaside fortress at the bottom of the page, inverted in relation to the larger scenes in the upper register, may represent Fort Grey, the ‘Martello’ tower which defended the west coast of Guernsey during the Napoleonic Wars.1 For comparisons, see the drawings of Rocquaine Bay listed under the entry for folio 77 verso (D23668; Turner Bequest CCLII 77a).

John Chu
April 2014

W.H. Clements, Towers of Strength: the Story of the Martello Towers, Barnsley 1999, pp.67–9.

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