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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Plymouth: The Charles Church, St Andrew's Church and the Citadel 1813

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 69 Recto:
Plymouth: The Charles Church, St Andrew’s Church and the Citadel 1813
Turner Bequest CXXXI 69
Pencil on white wove paper, 95 x 157 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in blue ink ‘69’ bottom right, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘CXXXI – 69’ bottom left, descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
With the page turned horizontally, this view over Plymouth from North Hill shows the spire of the Charles Church and the tower of St Andrew’s, with the profile of the Citadel to the left, and Mount Edgcumbe and Penlee Point in the distance across Plymouth Sound to the south-west. The subjects as far as folio 127 recto (D09358) are all identified or presumed sites within a few miles in and around Plymouth, suggesting a series of fairly short excursions.
Sam Smiles has observed definite or possible links between three drawings and oil sketches in the Turner Bequest showing ‘the same locations, though not from identical viewpoints’,1 presumably made on the same occasions in 1813 (see the Introduction to the sketchbook). He notes that the present view ‘seems to bear some relationship’ to the oil study (Tate D09214; Turner Bequest CXXX H) described by Finberg as ‘A distant town;2 its current title, Plymouth from the North, is that given by Butlin and Joll at Smiles’s suggestion.3 Smiles places the viewpoint of the oil sketch4 in ‘either the grounds of Greenbank House or Freedom Fields’,5 a quarter of a mile from North Hill Cottage, where Turner stayed in 1813 with local artist Ambrose Johns6 (for whom see the Introduction to the tour).
Smiles 1989, p.11.
Finberg 1909, I, p.365.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.133 no.220, pl.221.
Smiles 1989, pp.16–17 no.4.
Ibid., p.17.
Ibid., p.16.

Matthew Imms
April 2014

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Plymouth: The Charles Church, St Andrew’s Church and the Citadel 1813 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, April 2014, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, September 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-plymouth-the-charles-church-st-andrews-church-and-the-r1148020, accessed 31 May 2020.