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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Castle Cornet; Defensive Structures, Guernsey ?1832

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 52 Verso:
Castle Cornet; Defensive Structures, Guernsey ?1832
Turner Bequest CCLII 52a
Pencil on white wove paper, 114 x 187 mm
Partial watermark ‘YMAN | 28’
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘G[...]’ towards top centre, inverted
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This page features several sketches of the defensive coastal structures around the island of Guernsey. At the centre of the page is a description of sail-boats clustered around the foot of Castle Cornet, which guarded St Peter Port from an island in the middle of the harbour. To the right-hand side of the page, a building sits high on the brow of a hill, perhaps recording the appearance of Fort George, just to the south of the same town. For the key entry on this complex of defences, see folio 29 verso (D23575; Turner Bequest CCLII 29a).
Inverted in relation to the sketchbook as foliated, a sketch of coastal terrain dominated by another defensive structure features along the top edge of the page. The outline of this building matches that of the low ‘Martello’ towers – such as those at forts Hoummet, Saumarez, and Grey – which were built to reinforce the island’s defences during the Napoleonic Wars.1

John Chu
April 2014

See W.H. Clements, Towers of Strength: the story of the Martello towers, Barnsley 1999, p.169.

How to cite

John Chu, ‘Castle Cornet; Defensive Structures, Guernsey ?1832 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, April 2014, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, April 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-castle-cornet-defensive-structures-guernsey-r1175110, accessed 01 December 2020.