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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Pendennis Castle and the Entrance of Falmouth Harbour 1811

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 28 Recto:
Pendennis Castle and the Entrance of Falmouth Harbour 1811
Turner Bequest CXXV 27
Pencil and watercolour on white wove paper, 166 x 208 mm
Watermark ‘Fellows | 1808’
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CXXV – 27’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The view is from Pennance Point on the Cornish coast, looking east to Pendennis Castle above the point of the same name south of Falmouth, with St Anthony’s Head, across on the St Mawes side of Carrick Roads, washed in palely beyond. The Tudor castle was built between 1540 and 1545.1 The pencil work in the rocky foreground appears intentionally rough compared to the delicacy of the drawing and colouring of the distant castle.
Finberg noted that this sketch is the basis of the watercolour Pendennis Castle, Cornwall, Scene after a Wreck of about 1816 (private collection),2 engraved in 1817 for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England3 (see the concordance of the series in the 1811 tour introduction). Eric Shanes has suggested a view of the castle and its immediate surroundings in the smaller Devonshire Coast, No.1 sketchbook (Tate D08761; Turner Bequest CXXIII 218) as another source,4 although the present drawing probably provided enough information in itself.
This is one of two partly coloured studies in the sketchbook. The other, of a river bed, probably at Ivybridge, is on folio 1 recto (D08939; CXXV 48). The pencil drawing on the verso of the present leaf (D08906) shows the scene from a slightly different viewpoint. For other Falmouth studies, see under folio 25 verso (Tate D08901; Turner Bequest CXXV 24a), where Pendennis Castle is seen from the opposite direction.
This page was displayed at Tate St Ives in the 2006 exhibition concerning Turner in the West Country.5

Matthew Imms
February 2011

See [Adèle Campbell (ed.)], Heritage Unlocked: Guide to Free [English Heritage] Sites in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, London 2004, p.88.
Wilton 1979, p.352 no.458, reproduced.
Finberg 1909, I, p.356; see also Wilton 1979, p.352, and Shanes 1981, p.152.
Shanes 1981, p.152.
Sketchbook noted in ‘List of Works’ in Sam Smiles, Light into Colour: Turner in the South West, exhibition catalogue, Tate St Ives 2006, p.55, but folio not specified; page reproduced on exhibition microsite, Tate Online, accessed 28 October 2008 http://www.tate.org.uk/stives/exhibitions/turnersouthwest/guide/room1showcase.shtm.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Pendennis Castle and the Entrance of Falmouth Harbour 1811 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, February 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-pendennis-castle-and-the-entrance-of-falmouth-harbour-r1137386, accessed 18 January 2020.