Joseph Mallord William Turner

Tintagel: The Castle and a Watermill


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 139 × 215 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXV a 54

Catalogue entry

The view is to the north-west down the Vale of Avalon, through which the track now known as Castle Road runs, with the remains of Tintagel Castle on the mainland towards the top left, and the castellated ruins on the Island peninsula beyond, above the centre of the sketch. In the foreground is a watermill which does not survive, although there are ruins along the track which may correspond with this building. A similar view on folio 55 recto (D41335) shows the buildings as simplified outlines; the mill and valley also appear on folio 53 recto (D41334). Arthur’s Castle at Tintagel, Cornwall, a watercolour by Turner’s contemporary Samuel Prout (private collection), shows the same scene.1 For other views of Tintagel, see under folio 9 recto (D41284).
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 tentatively as ‘Rocks, with ruined castle. ?Tintagel’ in a manuscript listing,2 while C.F. Bell described it in his own notes as ‘Mine buildings with water-wheels’.3 Figures usually corresponding to Finberg’s MS catalogue page numbers, which differ from Bell’s sequence, are inscribed on the verso of most sheets.
See Bliss Was It in That Dawn to Be Alive: British Watercolours & Drawings 1750–1850, exhibition catalogue, Chris Beetles, London 2008, p.129 no.203, reproduced in colour.
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) 56.
C.F. Bell, MS addenda, [after 1928], tipped into a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, p.356B, as CXXVa 54.
Technical notes:
The sheet is slightly wrinkled, possibly as a result of exposure to damp.
Blank, save for inscription by Edwin Fagg in pencil ‘156 | 56’ bottom right. There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

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