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Between 1824 and 1838 Turner was commissioned by the publisher, Charles Heath, to work on a hundred topographical watercolours, to be engraved as Picturesque Views in England and Wales. As the title suggests the series featured many different types of landscape, including a number of coastal scenes.

Like nearby Margate, Folkestone was one of Turner’s preferred seaside haunts, although in his lifetime the harbour was notorious for the activities of smugglers. This scene shows officers of the coastguard retrieving a haul of contraband alcohol from the hands of smugglers.

July 2008