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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Penzance and Mount's Bay 1811

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 15 Recto:
Penzance and Mount’s Bay 1811
Turner Bequest CXXV a 15
Pencil on white wove paper, 140 x 215 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘[?T...]’ left of centre
Inscribed by C.F. Bell in pencil ‘15’ top right
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CXXV.A – 15’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Penzance is seen from the south-west. The spire on the left is that of the old St Mary’s Chapel, later replaced by the high, square tower of St Mary’s Church; St Michael’s Mount is across the bay to the east. The equivalent viewpoint today is along Western Promenade Road, with the later bathing pool in place of the shaded promontory beyond the beach. The furled sails of a ship in the harbour rise above the houses. For the harbour itself see folios 6 recto (D41281), under which other views are discussed, and 14 recto (D41289). There is a delicate continuation of the distant coast south-east of the Mount extending for almost the whole width of the page above the main drawing.
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. Michaels Mount in dist. on right’ in a manuscript listing,1 while C.F. Bell similarly described it in his own notes as ‘Mounts Bay from Penzance’.2 Figures differing from Bell’s sequence are inscribed on the verso of most sheets; they usually correspond with the pagination given in Finberg’s MS catalogue, but here and in a few other cases the numbers do not match, so a tentative connection has been made on the basis of Finberg’s descriptive title.
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) 3.
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 15.
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 ‘102’ and in an unknown hand ‘2’ bottom right. There are glue stains at the corners of the sheet.

Matthew Imms
July 2011

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Penzance and Mount’s Bay 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-penzance-and-mounts-bay-r1137438, accessed 12 July 2020.