Joseph Mallord William Turner

Starcross on the Exe Estuary; Babbacombe Bay from near Dawlish


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 75 × 117 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXIII 64 a

Catalogue entry

Starcross, the subject of the main view, stands on the west bank of the Exe Estuary, where the main railway line from Exeter towards the south-west was subsequently built. There are various buildings along the Strand near the railway station which may predate Turner’s visit.
The slight sketch framed in the top-left corner by vertical and horizontal lines appears to be inscribed ‘Ex’ on the bank to the left of the trees; compare the inscription on the recto (D08490). Views in the locality run between folio 66 verso and folio 69 verso (D08489, D08495; CXXIII 63a, 66a). The present drawing was probably made from the coast near Dawlish, south-west of the estuary mouth, looking south-south-west along the coast of Babbacombe Bay. What appears to be the Ore Stone, off Hope’s Nose, is silhouetted towards the left, marking the north-eastern approach to Torbay (see folios 54 verso and 56 verso; D08366, D08470; CXXIII 53a, 55a).
This smaller sketch may be related to a watercolour of Babbacombe Bay from near Teignmouth (private collection) has been dated to about 1811 and related by Eric Shanes1 to Turner’s designs for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast (see the introduction to the 1811 West Country tour). ‘Babicombe and Ore’ are mentioned in Turner’s poetry on folio 164 verso (D08670; CXXIII 161a). There is another view of the coastline on folio 71 recto (D08498; CXXIII 68).

Matthew Imms
June 2011

Eric Shanes, ‘Picture note 3: Babbacombe Bay from near Teignmouth’, Turner Studies, vol.10. no.1, Summer 1990, p.60, reproduced.

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