Joseph Mallord William Turner

Views around Sharpham House on the River Dart near Totnes


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 49

Catalogue entry

Sharpham House stands near Ashprington, about two miles south-east of Totnes (see under folio 48 verso; D09726), high on the west bank of the River Dart within a tight bend looping around its north, east and south sides. Turner has bisected the page both horizontally and vertically, using the quadrants to show four successive riverbank views. The house may be shown to the south-east at the top left, while at the top right there is a view in the opposite direction back up the Dart, with Totnes’s castle and church in the distance. The wooded bank at the bottom left lacks obvious landmarks, but the house is shown again at the bottom right, apparently from the south, with a separate detail above.
These drawings, along with those along the Dart on adjacent pages, are central to Sam Smiles’s proposal that this sketchbook was used in Devon in 1814, as Turner described a recent trip down the river from Totnes to Dartmouth (see under folio 50 recto; D09730) in a letter datable to the autumn of that year;1 see the overall Introduction to the tour.
This page was exhibited in Light into Colour: Turner in the South West at St Ives and Plymouth in 2006.2

Matthew Imms
July 2014

See Smiles 1987, pp.12, 14 note 34; see also the same author in Sam Smiles and Michael Pidgley, The Perfection of England: Artist Visitors to Devon c.1750–1870, exhibition catalogue, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter 1995, pp.101, 120 note 14.
Sketchbook noted in ‘List of Works’ in Sam Smiles, Light into Colour: Turner in the South West, exhibition catalogue, Tate St Ives 2006, p.55, but folio not specified; page reproduced on exhibition microsite, Tate, accessed 10 June 2014,, with a caption by or informed by Smiles referring to the Dart journey.

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