Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Beach with Fishing Boats and Figures, with a Man-of-War in the Distance


View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Ink and graphite on paper
Support: 118 x 182 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXVII 7 a

Catalogue entry

The subject is continued on folio 8 recto opposite (D03984). Turner’s drawing has expanded to fill both pages of the opening, and his beach is crowded with boats and impedimenta. The central motif of men hauling on a line was to become the main subject of the painting Wreckers, – Coast of Northumberland, with a Steam-Boat Assisting a Ship off Shore, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1834 (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven)1 and several other coastal subjects.
In shore subjects such as this Turner anticipates the beach scenes drawn in pen and ink by John Constable (1776–1837) at Brighton in about 1824, though Turner instinctively chooses a dramatic rather than a tranquil moment.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.206–7 no.357, pl.360 (colour).

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