Eric Shanes has identified the view as of Dartmouth from the west, looking to the Dart down the Ford Valley, at that time a tidal inlet but since reclaimed and built upon, with the tower of St Saviour’s Church on the right. The hill on the left is now the site of the Britannia Royal Naval College. Shanes has related the drawing to a ‘colour beginning’ (Tate D25162; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 40) which corresponds in the main points of topography, although the church tower is omitted.1 The viewpoint, today obstructed by trees and later development, appears to be around the top of Mount Boone.
This is the first of a sequence of views around Dartmouth and the Dart Estuary, running on to folio 60 recto (D09744). Turner also made drawings here in 1811 on his first West Country tour, in the Devonshire Coast, No.1 sketchbook (Tate D08365, D08366, D08527, D08528, D08783, D08786, D08788; Turner Bequest CXXIII 2a, 3, 84, 84a, 235a, 237a, 239) and the Corfe to Dartmouth sketchbook (Tate D08856–D08862; Turner Bequest CXXIV 41–47).
Shanes 1997, p.75; for the watercolour see ibid. no.63, reproduced (colour).