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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner East Cowes Castle: The Battlements, with Cowes and the River Medina to the West at Sunset 1827

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
East Cowes Castle: The Battlements, with Cowes and the River Medina to the West at Sunset 1827
Turner Bequest CCLX 26
Chalk and ink on blue wove paper, 140 x 192 mm
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram towards bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCLX – 26’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The most unusual of Turner’s East Cowes Castle views are perhaps three from the castellated roof, looking west over the River Medina to Cowes (see also Tate D24861 and D24863; CCLX 25, 27). They are complemented by a pencil sketch in the contemporary Isle of Wight sketchbook (Tate D20757; Turner Bequest CCXXVII 16a). Quite which part of the picturesquely turreted roofscape Turner used for his viewpoint is now uncertain, as there were various ways up,1 but he appears to have been at somewhere near the centre of the main block, with the vertical features possibly being the small turrets flanking the bay window on the north-west front above the dining room (as shown for example in D20842; CCXXVII a 39). In this instance the sun is setting on the left; compare D24863.
Like several others in the present subsection, this drawing was categorised in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory in one of the sections of works on blue paper ‘mostly connected with “French Rivers”’.2 It is among dozens of blue paper studies made in and around East Cowes Castle, presumably during the same visit. For more on the various aspects of the house (demolished in about 1950), and its lost grounds as depicted by Turner, see the Introduction to this subsection.
There is an unrelated view on the verso (D40084).
See ‘Ground-floor plan of East Cowes Castle’ in Michael Mansbridge, John Nash: A Complete Catalogue, Oxford 1991, p.86.
See Finberg 1909, II, pp.806–13, CCLX, ‘Pencil and ink on blue paper: mostly connected with “French Rivers” series’, c.1830; but see Butlin, Wilton and Gage 1974, p.102, Warrell 1989, p.148 and Warrell 1999, pp.30, 253 note 84, linking this sheet to the Isle of Wight.
Technical notes:
There is fading to the centre from prolonged exposure when the sheet was on display.

Matthew Imms
November 2015

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘East Cowes Castle: The Battlements, with Cowes and the River Medina to the West at Sunset 1827 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, November 2015, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, November 2016, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-east-cowes-castle-the-battlements-with-cowes-and-the-river-r1182728, accessed 17 September 2021.