Joseph Mallord William Turner

Stonehenge from South-East, with the Setting Sun


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 180 x 222 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXV b 10

Catalogue entry

Turner’s viewpoint is a little east of south-east, not far outside Stonehenge’s encircling ditch and banks, with the single low stone remaining outside the main group on that side shown as a hump towards the right. Just above the stones at the left of the outer sarsen circle is a disk which probably indicates the setting sun, still slightly north of due west when Turner was here towards mid-September on the last leg of his West Country tour (see 1811 tour introduction). The low sun is also apparently shown in the sketch from the north-east on folio 12 recto (D41385). Folios 9 recto–15 recto (D41382–D41388) all show Stonehenge; for Turner’s other views of the monument, see the introduction to the sketchbook.
As discussed there, the pages 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 as ‘Stonehenge’ in a manuscript list,1 while C.F. Bell described it in his own notes as ‘Stonehenge, nearer view’.2 Figures corresponding to Finberg’s MS catalogue page numbers, which differ from Bell’s sequence, are inscribed on the verso of each sheet.
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.357, as CXXV(b) 5.
C.F. Bell, MS addenda, [after 1928], tipped into a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, p.356C, as CXXVB 10.
Technical notes:
The sheet is wrinkled, possibly as a result of water damage, and a little rubbed.
Blank, save for inscription by Edwin Fagg in pencil ‘109 | 5’ bottom right. There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet.

Matthew Imms
May 2010

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