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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Mount's Bay and Penzance Harbour 1811

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 14 Recto:
Mount’s Bay and Penzance Harbour 1811
Turner Bequest CXXV a 14
Pencil on white wove paper, 140 x 215 mm
Inscribed by C.F. Bell in pencil ’14. [with the ‘4’ overwriting a ‘5’]’ top right
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CXXV.A – 14’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Vessels are shown moored beside the inner, north face of Penzance’s South Pier. In the distance to the left is St Michael’s Mount across Mount’s Bay to the east. The harbour has been much altered, beginning with an extension to the South Pier soon after Turner’s 1811 visit,1 and later the construction of further piers forming two enclosed docks in the foreground, shown here as yet undeveloped with figures and a horse and cart on the shore. Wharf Road now provides a similar viewpoint. The spire on the right appears to belong to St Mary’s Chapel, since replaced by the parish church under the same dedication with its square, pinnacled tower. There is a similar view on folio 6 recto (D41281), under which other views are discussed; the spire and the distant Mount appear again in a view from south-west of the town on folio 15 recto (D41290).
As discussed in the introduction, the pages of this ‘sketchbook’ appear to have originally been loose sheets, and are not recorded in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory of the Bequest, although he subsequently noted the subject as ‘Mounts Bay, with St. Michs Mount in dist. on left’ in a manuscript listing,2 while C.F. Bell similarly described it in his own notes as ‘Mounts Bay from Penzance’.3 Figures usually corresponding to Finberg’s MS catalogue page numbers, which differ from Bell’s sequence, are inscribed on the verso of most sheets.
See Cahill Partnership, ‘Penzance Harbour, South Pier: Historic Building Analysis’, Friends of Penzance Harbour, accessed 24 May 2010, http://www.friendsofpzharbour.org/pdfs/HistoricBuildingAnalysis_1.pdf.
A.J. Finberg, MS addenda, [circa 1928–39], tipped into a copy of his A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, opposite p.356, as CXXV(a) 35.
C.F. Bell, MS addenda, [after 1928], tipped into a copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.I, p.356A, as CXXVa 14.
Technical notes:
The sheet is slightly wrinkled, possibly as a result of exposure to damp.
Blank, save for inscriptions: inscribed by C.F. Bell in pencil ‘Mounts Bay & Penzance’ bottom left; inscribed by Edwin Fagg in pencil ‘134 | 35’ bottom right. There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Mount’s Bay and Penzance Harbour 1811 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, 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/joseph-mallord-william-turner-mounts-bay-and-penzance-harbour-r1137437, accessed 15 July 2020.