Joseph Mallord William Turner

Weymouth and Portland from the Dorchester Road


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 170 × 209 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXIV 24

Catalogue entry

The view is south past Weymouth on the coast to the Isle of Portland in the distance, from the Dorchester road as it passes over the Dorset Ridgeway near Upwey. Turner drew the outskirts of Dorchester on folio 23 recto (D08834) and had presumably been there first in a dog-leg on his route westwards from Lulworth Cove (folios 20 recto and verso, 21 recto and verso and 22 recto; D08829–D08833).1
Howard Hanley has suggested that Turner could have consulted this drawing in preparing his watercolour Weymouth, Dorsetshire of about 1811 (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven).2 The view is in the same general direction, but sketches made on the shore at Weymouth in the Devonshire Coast, No.1 sketchbook are the direct source of that design (Tate D08445, D08446; Turner Bequest CXXIII 44, 44a). Hanley compares the present sketch with a watercolour by John Upham, a Weymouth artist (Weymouth and Portland Borough Council Museums Collection);3 they were made in the same year and show almost identical views. John Constable made various studies of the downland and coast north-east of Weymouth Bay and Portland while staying nearby at Osmington in 1816.4
There is a sketch of Sandsfoot Castle, Weymouth, on folio 25 recto (D08836), and studies on Portland on folios 26 recto and 27 recto (D08837, D08838). Turner addresses Weymouth in verse in the Devonshire Coast, No.1 sketchbook (Tate D08493; Turner Bequest CXXIII 65a).
Hanley 1992, pp.6, 27.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.351 no.448, reproduced.
Reproduced Hanley 1992, p.27, ‘Cat.39’.
For example the drawing reproduced ibid., ‘Cat.38’ (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester).
Technical notes:
There is a prominent finger mark, apparently in ink, at the top centre, and a blue stain to the top right corner.
Blank, save for inscription by John Ruskin in red ink ‘25’ bottom left, upside down. A tear has been repaired at the bottom centre.

Matthew Imms
February 2011

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