Joseph Mallord William Turner

Cliffs at Wimereux

1845

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Gouache, graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 230 x 326 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D35404
Turner Bequest CCCLVIII 3

Catalogue entry

The inscription ‘Vim’ is an abbreviation of the phonetic spelling of Wimereux and locates this view some three miles up the coast from Boulogne. From a low vantage point across a churning sea are seen, as if from a boat, Wimereux’s sloping, striated cliffs. Above this, Napoleonic ‘Martello’ towers punctuate the skyline.1
Highly saturated, calligraphic strokes of blue describe the crashing of surf onto rocks and the peeping of foliage over the cliffs’ edge. Turner has paid particular attention to capturing the effect of geological strata seen in wet conditions, with parallel strokes of ochre, yellow, and red permitted to bleed and feather into one another.

John Chu
November 2013

1
J. Brunet, New Guide to Boulogne-sur-Mer, 3rd ed., Boulogne 1840, p.25.

Read full Catalogue entry

Explore