Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Nocturnal Scene ?near Eu


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 228 x 333 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLIX 1

Catalogue entry

In the extreme liquidity and freedom of its watercolour washes, this nocturnal vista is typical of the works which Turner worked into the inside covers of his ‘roll sketchbooks’ at this date (see notes concerning the verso). Intact examples of this include inside covers from the Ideas of Folkestone and Boulogne sketchbooks of 1845 (Tate D35361, D35435; Turner Bequest CCCLVI 1, CCCLVIII 24). The moon in the night sky is clearly visible towards the top right-hand corner of the page, having been ‘lifted off’ from various shades of blue wash to expose the paper beneath. The rest of the view, however, is more difficult to decipher. James Hamilton gives his interpretation a biographical slant, finding in the dark purple-brown form towards the bottom left Turner’s coach ‘rolling towards Eu’.1
Hamilton 2003, p.77.
As described in the Technical notes for the sketchbook Introduction, this sketch was worked into one of the inside covers of the volume. The piece is attached to its mount, so it is not possible to inspect the verso, although fragments of the original dark green cloth binding are visible to the right.

John Chu
February 2014

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like