Joseph Mallord William Turner

An Anchor and Two Seated Figures on the Shore


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Ink and graphite on paper
Support: 135 x 210 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXIX 1

Catalogue entry

The manner in which this rapid sketch, made with the page turned horizontally, has been laid out at the lower edge indicates that it is an idea for the foreground of a composition, and the details correspond closely with those in the watercolour of Pembroke Castle, South Wales: Thunder Storm Approaching (National Museum Wales, Cardiff),1 exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1801. There, a group of figures are crouched under a boat at the extreme right, as in this drawing. An anchor is likewise on the beach to the left, though facing the opposite way. A second view, Pembroke-Castle: Clearing Up of a Thunder Storm, exhibited in 1806 (Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto),2 has a very similar composition, and the identification of the two subjects has been disputed; the foreground staffage in the Toronto picture is, however, differently disposed.
Several other drawings in this book relate to the genesis of the Pembroke subject, or to a similar composition featuring Flint Castle; see folios 9 recto, 14 recto, 16 recto (D04003, D04008, D04010), and 114 recto (D04132; Turner Bequest LXIX 115). See also the study of a composition of Dunstanburgh Castle on folio 5 recto (D03998), which also uses these foreground motifs.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.331 no.280.
Ibid., no.281, reproduced.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

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