Joseph Mallord William Turner

St Ives from Porthminster Beach


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 141 × 215 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXV a 48

Catalogue entry

Turner’s viewpoint is from Porthminster Beach, looking north-west to the parish church on the left, with the Downalong area of St Ives beyond the harbour and pier and St Nicholas’s Chapel on the summit of the Island to the right. The rocks in the foreground are now crowned by the Malakoff, near the railway station. Turner drew a similar view from above the beach on folio 50 recto (D41329), presumably on the same occasion.
This is one of four consecutive, detailed drawings of St Ives and its surroundings (see also folios 47, 49 and 50 recto; D41326, D41328, D41329), the identification of which has been credited to the contemporary St Ives artist Roy Ray;1 there is a further view bound towards the end of the book (folio 82 recto; D41364).
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 mistakenly as ‘Penzance (?)’ in a manuscript listing,2 while C.F. Bell described it in his own notes as ‘Seaport town with church with square tower’.3 Figures usually corresponding to Finberg’s MS catalogue page numbers, which differ from Bell’s sequence, are inscribed on the verso of most sheets.
Brown in Lewis and Brown 1985, p.97.
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) 26.
C.F. Bell, MS addenda, [after 1928], tipped into a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, p.356B, as CXXVa 48; entry later annotated in other hands ‘Dartmouth?’ and ‘?St Ives’.
Technical notes:
The sheet is slightly wrinkled, possibly as a result of exposure to damp.
Blank, save for inscription by Edwin Fagg in pencil ‘124 | 26’ bottom right. There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

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