Joseph Mallord William Turner

Boats in Rough Water at Calais, with Passengers Disembarking from the Packet

c.1802

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Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Chalk on paper
Dimensions
Support: 436 x 271 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D04978
Turner Bequest LXXXI 76

Catalogue entry

The drawing is continued on folio 40 recto opposite (D04979; Turner Bequest LXXXI 77). It is one of a series of studies in this book devoted to the theme of Turner’s landing at Calais; see under folio 30 verso (D04960; Turner Bequest LXXXI 58). Turner’s ‘Do’ (for ‘Ditto’) here refers to the inscription on folio 38 verso (D04976; Tuner Bequest LXXXI 74), ‘My Landing at Calais’.

It is possible that Turner simply wished to recreate for himself a scene that had left a strong impression on him, but he may have been considering the subject as a theme for the big marine painting that in the event became Calais Pier, with French Poissards Preparing for Sea: An English Packet Arriving, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1803 (National Gallery, London).1 That shows the packet arriving but does not deal with the drama of the landing itself.
1
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.37–8 no.48, pl.58 (colour).
Technical notes:
The discolouration of this page is owing to the recto (D04977; Turner Bequest LXXXI 75) being selected for prolonged display in nineteenth century, when the leaf was extracted.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

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