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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Scarborough 1 Sketchbook c.1816–18

Turner Bequest CL
Sketchbook bound in stiff card covers covered with tan leather, with faint traces of an embossed border around outer edges of front cover
32 leaves of white medium-weight wove paper, inside covers of white wove paper and four folios of later white wove paper added during unrecorded (but post 1909) restoration
Approximate page size 180 x 117 mm
Leaves watermarked either ‘R BARNARD 1812’ or ‘JOHN HAYES 1812’
Inscribed by Turner in ink ‘101’ on a paper label on the spine (D40707), and ‘Scarborough’ on the back cover (D40706)
Inscribed by the Executors of the Turner Bequest ‘No. 168’, signed by Henry Scott Trimmer ‘H. S. Trimmer’ and Charles Turner ‘C. Turner’ and initialled in pencil by Charles Lock Eastlake ‘C.L.E’ below and John Prescott Knight ‘J.P.K’ inside front cover
Inscribed by an unknown hand (perhaps an Executor) ‘S51–...’ on back cover
Stamped in ink ‘CL’ on front and back covers and at top edge
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This and a Scarborough 2 sketchbook (Tate D11952–D11973; D40708–D40711; Turner Bequest CLI) were used together on a tour to Scarborough on the North Yorkshire coast while The Aqueduct sketchbook (Tate D11974–D11994; D40712–D40714; Turner Bequest CLII) records the continuation of the journey via Malton and York to Farnley Hall, the home of Turner’s patron, Walter Fawkes. The present book was used exclusively in Scarborough and the immediate environs, and contains a greater variety of Scarborough subjects than Scarborough 2. The original page order has been lost, so it is impossible to be certain of Turner’s exact itineraries around the town, but four broad groups of sketches may be discerned.
One group of three sketches (D11930, D11914, D11924; Turner Bequest CL 13, CL 8, CL 1) explores the shore south of Scarborough, and resulted in a finished watercolour of Scarborough dated 1818 (private collection).1 The same territory is explored in Scarborough 2 in sketches closest to the final composition (D11971, 40710; Turner Bequest CLI 17a, inside front cover). Two further studies of waves in the present sketchbook (D11951, D11950; Turner Bequest CL 32, CL 31) and a study of cliffs in Scarborough 2 (D11970; Turner Bequest CLI 17) also informed the finished watercolour.
A second group of three sketches (D11932, D11931, D11940; Turner Bequest CL 15, 14, 21) explores the distant prospect of Scarborough from inland to the south-west, on the Malton road, to the Weaponness Valley around Scarborough Mere. The last of these records a subject repeated in the Devonshire Rivers 3, Yorkshire, Wharfedale sketchbook (Tate D09866; Turner Bequest CXXXIV 65) and also in Scarborough 2 (D11972; Turner Bequest CLI 18) where it is the first of a sequence of seven sketches exploring the valley towards the harbour. It seems likely that all these sketches were made on the same visit to Scarborough, and possibly on the same excursion.
A third group of eight sketches (D11945, D11942, D11926, D11944, D11946, D11941, D11947, D11948; Turner Bequest CL 26, CL 23, CL 10, CL 25, CL 27, CL 22, CL 28, CL 29) plus the aforementioned studies of waves (D11951, D11950) explores Scarborough harbour and the south bay.
A fourth group of nine sketches (D11925, D11923, D11918, D11949, D11943, D11917, D11927, D11928, D11929; Turner Bequest CL 9, CL 7a, CL 4, CL 30, CL 24, CL 3, CL 11, CL 11a, CL 12) plus possibly another (D11916; Turner Bequest CL 2a) explores the castle ward and subjects along the north bay escarpment.
The subjects in the last two groups are exclusive to this book. Additionally, there are two rough sketches of shipping (D11938, D11939; Turner Bequest CL 19a, 20) and one jotting of isolated buildings amongst fields (D11936; Turner Bequest CL 18a).
Some lines of verse (D11920; Turner Bequest CL 5a) are rubbed and hard to decipher, but are sufficiently legible to indicate that they were based on an inscription on the monument to Admiral Lord Nelson erected by the fifth Earl of Carlisle at Castle Howard. Turner must therefore have visited the estate on his way to or from the coast unless he had got hold of some contemporary guidebook.
The most definitive piece of evidence for dating is the 1818 inscription on the finished watercolour of Scarborough, which provides the latest possible date for the visit. Finberg dated the sketchbook c.1816–18 and this seems reasonable on grounds of style. In the 1980 York exhibition the tour was assigned to 1815, but on no certain grounds. More recently the present writer has preferred to date this and all related Yorkshire material to 1816, when Turner made extensive tours in Yorkshire for illustrations for Thomas Dunham Whitaker’s projected seven-volume General History of the County of York. The Devonshire Rivers 3, Yorkshire, Wharfedale sketchbook contains sketches at Scarborough which appear to be contiguous with those in the present book and Scarborough 2.
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, p.360 no.529.
A concordance follows:
Folio numberTate accession numberTurner Bequest (Finberg) number
1 rectoD11919CL 5
VersoD11920CL 5a
2 rectoD11926CL 10
3 rectoD11945CL 26
4 rectoD11951CL 32
5 rectoD11950CL 31
6 rectoD11947CL 28
7 rectoD11948CL 29
8 rectoD11925CL 9
9 rectoD11923CL 7a
9 versoD11922CL 7
10 rectoD11949CL 30
11 rectoD11943CL 24
12 rectoD11929CL 12
13 rectoD11944CL 25
14 rectoD11927CL 11
VersoD11928CL 11a
15 rectoD11930CL 13
16 rectoD11924CL 8
17 rectoD11942CL 23
18 rectoD11917CL 3
19 rectoD11918CL 4
20 rectoD11915CL 2
VersoD11916CL 2a
21 rectoD11940CL 21
22 rectoD11931CL 14
23 rectoD11933CL 16
24 rectoD11914CL 1
25 rectoD11946CL 27
Modern blank
26 rectoD11941CL 22
27 rectoD11932CL 15
28 rectoD11934CL 17
Modern blank
29 rectoD11921CL 6a
30 rectoD11935CL 18
VersoD11936CL 18a
31 rectoD11937CL 19
VersoD11938CL 19a
32 rectoD11939CL 20
Modern blank

David Hill
September 2008

Revised by David Blayney Brown
February 2014

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How to cite

David Hill, ‘Scarborough 1 Sketchbook c.1816–18’, sketchbook, September 2008, revised by David Blayney Brown, February 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/scarborough-1-sketchbook-r1146930, accessed 21 May 2024.