Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Harbour Scene at Sheerness


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 190 x 112 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCIX 12 a

Catalogue entry

Made with the sketchbook turned vertically, the drawing on this page describes a view of Sheerness presumably made from a vessel close to the shore. Many of the landmarks are inscribed with labels. This architectural arrangement is also evident in the distance, to the right of centre, in William Daniell’s 1823 watercolour Sheerness (British Museum, London) engraved for A Voyage Round Great Britain (Tate impression: T02943). The previous two pages, on folios 11 verso and 12 recto (D17383 and D17384) also illustrate views of Sheerness, a theme which Turner does not appear to pursue again until the end of the sketchbook, on folios 86 verso and 90 verso (D17499 and D17507).
For other studies of Sheerness in Turner’s oeuvre, see the Hesperides sketchbook of about 1805–06 (Tate D05791, D05838; Turner Bequest XCIII 16, 41); and the River and Margate sketchbook of about 1805–9 (Tate D06415, D06416, D06416, D06454–D06455, D06459, D06470; Turner Bequest XCIX 33a, 34, 56a–57, 59, 64a). Also see the watercolour Sheerness of about 1825 (Tate D18153; Turner Bequest CCVIII T),1 and associated loose colour study of about 1824 (Tate D25389; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 266). Two oils were also exhibited at Turner’s own gallery in 1808 and 1809. These were Sheerness as Seen from the Nore (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)2 and Guardship at the Great Nore, Sheerness, &c. (private collection).3

Maud Whatley
January 2016

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.387 no.755, reproduced.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.58 no.76, pl.86 (colour).
Ibid., pp.67–8 no.91, pl.101 (colour).

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