Joseph Mallord William Turner

Cliffs, from the Sea

c.1822–3

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 180 x 230 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17759
Turner Bequest CCIII B

Catalogue entry

In this rough colour sketch Turner has mapped out a seascape in broad applications of watercolour wash: a headland in golden-ochre and the curve of a cove in grey-yellow merging into the grey-green of the sea. The dramatic sky above has been diagonally bisected into planes of sombre dark grey-blue and sunlit yellow wash. Turner’s handling is vigorous and gestural; an evocative contrastive painterly effect achieved by the use of dry brush over areas of wet where pigments pool and merge into each other.
The composition and colour range of this sketch is somewhat similar to the finished design of Dover in the Ports of England series (Tate D18154; Turner Bequest CCVIII U).
Verso:
The sheet is stamped in black with the Turner Bequest monogram and ‘CCIII–B’ towards bottom left and inscribed in pencil ‘CCIII B’ at bottom right.

Alice Rylance-Watson
March 2013

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