Joseph Mallord William Turner

Tintagel Church from the Island, with Gull Rock Beyond


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 138 × 215 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXV a 9

Catalogue entry

The medieval cliff-top church of St Materiana’s, Tintagel, with Gull Rock to the south, is viewed from above Tintagel Head on the Island peninsula. The rocks on the right are in the immediate foreground high above the sea, although their spatial relationship with the coast in the middle distance on the left is deceptive owing to the lack of shading or colour.
As discussed in the introduction, the pages of this ‘sketchbook’ 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 ‘Rocky coast with church on cliff’ in a manuscript listing,1 while C.F. Bell mistakenly described it in his own notes as ‘Mounts Bay and St Michael’s Mount’,2 presumably thinking of the ‘island’ in the distance as the Mount, which is indeed shown on folios 7 recto and 8 recto (D41282, D41283). Figures usually corresponding to Finberg’s MS catalogue page numbers, which differ from Bell’s sequence, are inscribed on the verso of most sheets.
As Bell’s definite and indefinite identifications were used to sequence the sketchbook as bound, other Tintagel views are scattered through it on the rectos of folios 32 (under which the history of the site is discussed), 33, 34, 53, 54, 55, 57, 59, 62, 75 and 78 (D41308–D41310, D41333–D41335, D41338, D41340, D41344, D41357, D41360).
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.356, as CXXV(a) 49.
C.F. Bell, MS addenda, [after 1928], tipped into a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, p.356A, as CXXVa 9.
Technical notes:
The sheet is slightly wrinkled, possibly as a result of exposure to damp.
Blank, save for inscriptions: inscribed by C.F. Bell in pencil ‘Mounts Bay, Cornwall’ bottom left; inscribed by Edwin Fagg in pencil ‘150 | 49’ bottom right. There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

Read full Catalogue entry

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