Joseph Mallord William Turner

Weymouth and Portland


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 75 × 117 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXIII 44

Catalogue entry

Turner views Weymouth from the seashore to the north, at about the point where the road from Dorchester met the coast.1 Following the sequence of the Corfe to Dartmouth sketchbook, used on the same leg of the tour, Howard Hanley suggests that Turner was probably travelling south after drawing at Dorchester (Tate D08834; Turner Bequest CXXIV 23), and had already stopped on the way to make a sketch of Weymouth and Portland from higher ground further off (D08835; CXXIV 24).2
Here the Georgian houses on the Esplanade recede towards the town and the Nothe headland above the harbour, with the profile of the Isle of Portland rising beyond to the south. The clearest sense of this juxtaposition can be obtained from Greenhill Gardens above the beach; from there the Georgian seafront is hidden by later developments and traffic systems but may be seen from a little further south. The nearest houses are continued to the right on the verso of the present leaf (D08446).
As noted by Eric Shanes, both sketches on this leaf form the basis of the watercolour Weymouth, Dorsetshire of about 1811 (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven),3 engraved in 1814 for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England 4 (see the concordance of the series in the 1811 tour introduction).
The slight secondary drawing on folio 47 verso (D08452) may be a repetition of the overall view.
Howard J.M. Hanley, Turner in Dorset: Images from the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England, exhibition catalogue, Mulberry Gallery, Weymouth Library 1992, p.28; see also comparative illustrations: ‘Cat.’ nos.43 (modern photograph), 44 (engraving by J. Crane, 1789), and 45 (watercolour by John Upham, circa 1812).
See ibid., pp.26, 27.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.351 no.448, reproduced.
Shanes 1981, p.152.
Technical notes:
There is significant ink offsetting from Turner’s poetry on folio 43 verso opposite (D08444).

Matthew Imms
June 2011

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