J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Cornwall and Devon sketchbook 1811

Turner Bequest CXXV a 1–78
Sketchbook bound in modern boards, with brown cloth cover
90 leaves of white wove paper tipped onto custom-made white paper stubs between modern cream endpapers, approximate leaf size 215 x 140 mm; overall size including stub 215 x 155 mm
Makers unidentified; various leaves with embossed stamp ‘BATH | [crown] | VELLUM’ within oval cartouche
No numbering as part of the Turner Schedule in 1854 or endorsement by the Executors of the Turner Bequest evident; inscribed in pencil on the recto of the front free endpaper ‘TURNER BEQUEST Add.CXXV.A.’
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This so-called ‘sketchbook’ (see the technical notes below) comprises views of West and North Cornwall and the adjacent coast of North Devon, made on Turner’s 1811 tour of the West Country. There is an anomalous South Devon view of Saltram, near Plymouth, on folio 2 recto (D41277), and possibly another near Plymouth on folio 3 recto (D41278). Otherwise, Turner began using these pages after his intensive study of St Michael’s Mount in the Ivy Bridge to Penzance sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CXXV). His record of the coastal part of the tour was subsequently concluded in the Somerset and North Devon sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CXXVI). Some of the sites in the present book also appear in the smaller Devonshire Coast, No.1 sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CXXIII).
The present sketchbook is not recorded in Finberg’s 1909 Turner Bequest Inventory,1 but pseudo-Finberg Turner Bequest numbers for it and the similarly overlooked Stonehenge ‘sketchbook’ (Tate; Turner Bequest CXXV b) were later assigned and stamped on their pages, correctly placing them in sequence with the other sketchbooks in use on the same trip as described in the introduction to the tour. For convenience of reference, Cornwall and Devon and Stonehenge and their contents will generally be described in the present catalogue as sketchbooks without qualification.
As described in the technical notes below, C.F. Bell numbered each sheet to correspond with his MS catalogue, according to his understanding of Turner’s subjects and clockwise coastal route. Bell’s numbers in turn furnished the suffixes of the ‘CXXV.A’ pseudo-Finberg stamps, and the leaves were later bound in this order, as set out in the concordance. Later identifications mean that many drawings are demonstrably in the wrong topographical sequence. The following is an outline of the likely order of execution in terms of identified or proposed views, although they were not necessarily made in this folio sequence around each site. The drawings are on the rectos unless otherwise noted:
South Devon:
Saltram, near Plymouth: folio 2 (D41277)
West Cornwall:
Mount’s Bay and Penzance: folios 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 84, 85, 87 (D41281–D41283, D41285–D41291, D41366, D41367, D41369)
Mousehole: 89 (D41372)
Treryn Dinas and the Logan Rock near Porth Curno: 17, 18, 19, 21, 41 and 69 (D41292–D41294, D41296, D41320, D41351)
Land’s End and nearby coast: 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 66, 67 (D08941, D08942, D41300–D41305, D41348, D41349)
St Ives: 47, 48, 49, 50, 50 verso, 82 (D41326–D41330, D41364)
North Cornwall:
Carn Brea, near Redruth: folio 46 (D41325)
Padstow: 30, 86 (D41306, D41368)
Wadebridge: 4, 5 (D41279, D41280)
Tintagel: 9, 32, 33, 34, 53, 54, 55, 57, 59, 62, 75, 78 (D41284, D41308–D41310, D41333–D41335, D41338, D41340, D41344, D41357, D41360)
Bossiney and Trevalga area: 31, 72, 74, 81 (D41307, D41354, D41356, D41363)
Boscastle: 55 verso, 71 (D41336, D41353)
Bude and nearby coast: 35, 35 verso, 40, 63, 68, 70 (D41311, D41312, D41318, D41345, D41350, D41352)
North Devon:
Clovelly and nearby coast: folios 43, 44, 45, 64, 65, 88, 90 (D41322–D41324, D41346, D41347, D41370, D41373)
?Buck’s Mills: 60 (D41341)
Bideford: 36 (D41313)
Ilfracombe and nearby coast, some including Lundy: 37, 37 verso, 38, 39, 42, 61, 61 verso, 76, 77, 88 verso (D41314–D41317, D41321, D41342, D41343, D41358, D41359, D41371)
Combe Martin: 40 verso (D41319)
The sketch or sketches on folio 3 recto (D41278) remain(s) resistant to interpretation despite Turner’s topographical inscription; Whitesand Bay near Plymouth, Whitesand Bay, Land’s End, or Clovelly are possible subjects. The following sketches (again, rectos unless otherwise noted), all presumably made in Cornwall or North Devon, are currently unidentified:
coastal features: folios 1 verso, 20, 58, 73, 79, 80, 83 (D41276, D41295, D41339, D41355, D41361, D41362, D41365); a waterfall: 23 verso (D41299; Turner Bequest CXXV 51v); watermills: 51, 52 (D41331, D41332); a mill, or other industrial/agricultural building: 56 (D41337)
A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

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How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Cornwall and Devon sketchbook 1811’, sketchbook, July 2011, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/cornwall-and-devon-sketchbook-r1137422, accessed 22 July 2024.