Joseph Mallord William Turner

Totnes Castle and Church from the River Dart


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 110 × 178 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXIII 48

Catalogue entry

Totnes is seen to the north-west up the River Dart, with the castle and St Mary’s Church towards the centre. There are similar views in the 1811 Devonshire Coast, No.1 sketchbook (Tate D08541, D08542; Turner Bequest CXXIII 91, 91a). The sketches all informed the watercolour Totnes, on the River Dart of about 1824 (Tate D18135; Turner Bequest CCVIII B),1 engraved in 1827 for the Rivers of England. While the left foreground and hills beyond the church in the watercolour are probably taken from D08542 in Devonshire Coast, No.1, its castle, church and waterfront buildings are closer to the present study, even down to the shadow across the left-hand end of the castle.2
The sketches on folios 47 verso opposite and the verso of this leaf (D09725, D09727) are likely to have been made on the Dart nearby. There is a thumbnail sketch showing Totnes in the distance among those on folio 49 recto (D09728), and are further views on folios 60 verso and 61 recto (D09745, D09746), apparently made on returning along the river from Dartmouth, of which there are several views on the intervening pages (see under folio 50 recto; D09730).

Matthew Imms
July 2014

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.386 no.747, reproduced.
See also Smiles 1995, pp.104, 120 note 27.

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