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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Lyme Regis and the Cobb; Restormel Castle from the Fowey Valley 1811

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 41 Recto:
Lyme Regis and the Cobb; Restormel Castle from the Fowey Valley 1811
Turner Bequest CXXIII 41
Pencil on white wove writing paper, 75 x 117 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘Restormels’ above centre, and ‘Lyme’ bottom right
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘41’ bottom right, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘CXXIII – 41’ bottom left, descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Luke Herrmann makes a connection between the lower sketch, looking south-west along the beach to the Cobb (Lyme’s harbour), and the watercolour Lyme Regis, Dorsetshire: A Squall, of about 1812 (Glasgow Museums),1 engraved in 1814 for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England (see the concordance of Southern Coast subjects in the introduction to the 1811 tour). While the present drawing may have informed the watercolour, the main source was a more distant study in the contemporary Corfe to Dartmouth sketchbook (Tate D08841; Turner Bequest CXXIV 29a).
Eric Shanes2 notes the relationship of this view to Turner’s later watercolour Lyme Regis, Dorset (Cincinnati Art Museum),3 made in about 1834 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales, where the town and Cobb appear at the same angle, but from closer than in the Southern Coast view. For other views of Lyme Regis, see under folio 36 recto (D08429).
Turner would have sketched Restormel – drawn above the Lyme view and defined by vertical and horizontal framing lines – a considerable time later, as the site is much further west on the outward leg of his West Country tour. There is a similar drawing on folio 40 verso opposite (D08438); see under folio 7 recto (D08374) for further views.

Matthew Imms
June 2011

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.351 no.451, reproduced.
Shanes 1979, p.155; see also same author’s J.M.W. Turner: The Foundations of Genius, exhibition catalogue, Taft Museum, Cincinnati 1986, p.60.
Wilton 1979, p.401 no.866, reproduced.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Lyme Regis and the Cobb; Restormel Castle from the Fowey Valley 1811 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, June 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/joseph-mallord-william-turner-lyme-regis-and-the-cobb-restormel-castle-from-the-fowey-r1136916, accessed 18 August 2019.