Joseph Mallord William Turner

The River Tamar below Weir Head, Gunnislake


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 181 x 228 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXVII 49 a

Catalogue entry

The view is from the Cornish side, north-north-east up the River Tamar south of Gunnislake, with the profile of Chimney Rock in the distance on the Devon side. The composition is inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation. The banks are now more heavily wooded, and none of these particular buildings appears to survive. The square structure in the distance stands at the southern end of the short Tamar Manure Navigation Canal, and is also seen in a closer view on folio 53 verso (D10279; CXXXVII 50a), under which the subject is discussed in more detail.
The book contains numerous views in and around the Tamar and Tavy valleys between folios 46 verso (D10265; CXXXVII 43a) and 58 verso (D10289; CXXXVII 55a), probably made in the summer of 1813 in conjunction with those in the smaller Devon Rivers, No.1 sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CXXXII). The latter is covered in the section of the present catalogue specifically devoted to Turner’s 1813 visit to Devon, where further information on Turner’s work in the locality will be found.

Matthew Imms
May 2011

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