Joseph Mallord William Turner

Brighton; the Shore Looking West


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 187 x 229 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 270

Catalogue entry

Paper historian Peter Bower has suggested that this drawing is of a piece with three other colour sketches ‘possibly originally making up the four quarters of the whole sheet’ (Tate D25370, D25410, D25477; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 248, 287, 354).1 The watermark which he cites for this whole sheet is ‘w weatherley | 1822’ which the reader will see does not correspond to the watermark on this sheet dated 1824 (the manufacturer is not visible). Stylistically, however, the drawing is similar to those in Bower’s grouping and to other colour sketches (Tate D25365, D25383, D25422; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 243, 260, 299, for example).
Turner scholar Ian Warrell has identified the view as Brighton beach and pump house.2 For a comparable view of this building see the 1825 oil painting by James Bennett (1808–1888): The Pump House, Brighton, East Sussex (Brighton and Hove Museums and Art Galleries). The drawing may be preparatory, produced for the purpose of a print series such as the Ports of England, the East Coast of England or the Southern Coast. It may simply be loose unrelated colour sketch.
Turner has made use of vivid red, orange, green, and blue wash with black to render the pumping house in the centre. Each of these colours mark out certain sections of the view. Particularly striking is the handling: largely vigorous and gestural but with some fluid merging of wash in parts. This sense of dynamism is emphasised by the traces of fluid and inchoate pencil under-drawing seen beneath the wash.
The sheet is lightweight writing paper and has a letter written to Turner in pencil on the verso by the engraver George Cooke (Tate D40147; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 270 v).

Alice Rylance-Watson
March 2013

Bower 1999, p.43, no.15, note 1.
Warrell 1995, p.8.

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