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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Totnes from the River Dart 1811

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 94 Verso:
Totnes from the River Dart 1811
Turner Bequest CXXIII 91a
Pencil on white wove writing paper, 75 x 117 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Totnes is seen to the north-west up the River Dart, with the castle and St Mary’s Church towards the centre. There is a similar view on the recto (D08541). Eric Shanes has identified the present sketch as the basis for the watercolour Totnes, on the River Dart of about 1824 (Tate D18135; Turner Bequest CCVIII B),1 engraved in 1827 for The Rivers of England.2 Two drawings in the contemporary Corfe to Dartmouth sketchbook (Tate D08854, D08855; Turner Bequest CXXIV 39, 40), which have been noted in relation to the watercolour, show other aspects of the town,3 as does the sketch on folio 139 recto (D08625; CXXIII 136).
Along with other sketches of Totnes in the later Devon Rivers, No.2 sketchbook, there is one from a similar viewpoint (Tate D09726; Turner Bequest CXXXIII 48) which probably also informed the Rivers of England composition.
Turner writes of the town in his poetry on folio 164 verso (D08670; CXXIII 161a).

Matthew Imms
June 2011

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.386 no.747, reproduced.
Shanes 1981, p.152; see also Shanes, Joll, Warrell and others 2000, p.158.
Wilton 1979, p.386 under no.747.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Totnes from the River Dart 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-totnes-from-the-river-dart-r1137019, accessed 27 November 2020.