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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner ?Dunster Castle, Somerset c.1834

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
?Dunster Castle, Somerset c.1834
Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 360
Pencil and watercolour on white wove paper, 344 x 481 mm
Watermark ‘J Whatman | Turkey Mill | 1833’ and ‘N
Inscribed in pencil ‘CCCLXIV, 360’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘[?CCC]LXIV – 360’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Eric Shanes identifies this view as of Dunster Castle, Somerset, comparing it to a pencil drawing of the view north to the Bristol Channel in the 1811 Somerset and North Devon sketchbook (Tate D08953; Turner Bequest CXXVI 7) and suggesting that it is an undeveloped study for Turner’s Picturesque View in England and Wales.1 The form of the hill on the left here is longer and more rectangular than the slope occupied by the castle in the corresponding part of the drawing, but the general relationship of it to the sea and the valley in the foreground is similar.
David Hill has described the status of Shanes’s identification as ‘not proven or positively dubious’.2 Shanes’s identification a similar ‘colour beginning’ composition (Tate D25216; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 94), perhaps made ‘during the same session of work’, as a view of nearby Porlock,3 has since been convincingly displaced by Ian Warrell’s identification of it as a view of Rouen from the north, comparing it with precise 1820s pencil and ink drawings;4 the subject of the present study is likely to remain unproven.
See also the introductions to the present subsection of identified but unrealised subjects and the overall England and Wales ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which this work has been assigned.
Shanes 1997, pp.82, 96, 106.
Hill 1997, p.7.
Shanes 1997, pp.82, 96, 105.
See Ian Warrell, Turner on the Seine, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, pp.186, 268 no.45, fig.167.
Technical notes:
There are colour tests at the bottom left and possibly at the bottom right.
Blank save for inscriptions: inscribed ?by Turner ‘[?S...] R[...]’ bottom right, upside down; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram over ‘CCCLXIV – 360’ towards bottom right; inscribed in pencil ‘CCCLXIV 360.’, ’13 ½ x 19 1/8’ and ‘wm 1833’ towards bottom right; inscribed in pencil ‘36’ bottom right. There are isolated strokes or splashes of red and blue towards the top right, and an adventitious diagonal stroke of blue pencil above the centre.

Matthew Imms
March 2013

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘?Dunster Castle, Somerset c.1834 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2013, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-dunster-castle-somerset-r1144313, accessed 28 May 2024.