Joseph Mallord William Turner

?St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Chulmleigh, above the Little Dart River


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 90 × 152 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXII 61

Catalogue entry

This drawing may show St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Chulmleigh. The village lies in north Devon, north of Dartmoor and about half way between Tiverton to the east (see the contemporary Devon Rivers, No.2 sketchbook; Tate D09768, D09769; Turner Bequest CXXXIII 73a, 74), which was possibly the starting point of the present tour (see the overall Introduction) and Barnstaple (see under folio 66 recto; D09550), the nearest identified subject to the north-west.
If the identification is correct, the setting remains very rural. The wooden footbridge bridge at the foot of the hill, over the Little Dart River, has been replaced and is now hidden by trees. Turner’s composition is comparable with that in the 1862 painting Near Chulmleigh, Devon (Chulmleigh from the River Dart, Devon) by John Wallace Tucker (1808–1869) at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter. Rock Hill, the lane leading up to the village from the bridge, is now part of the Ridge and Valley Walk route.
The church appears to be shown again from further east on folio 62 recto (D09546).

Matthew Imms
June 2014

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