Joseph Mallord William Turner

Coastal Terrain

c.1830–45

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 221 x 271 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D36003
Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 159

Display caption

The modern concept of abstraction would not have been understood or endorsed in the nineteenth century, even by an artist as experimental as Turner. He would not have intended these late, loose colour beginnings to have been exhibited during his lifetime.

Nevertheless, in each of these works the elements of the composition are reduced to the barest representation of sea and sky. These private, informal studies reveal Turner’s intuitive ability to think of landscape in terms of pure colour.

Gallery label, April 2005

Catalogue entry

This is one of a large number of sketches on loose sheets of paper seeming to depict coastal terrain. In this particular sketch, it has been suggested that the scenery depicted may belong to Austria or the Italian Lakes due to the Austrian make of the paper.1 For the grouping and dating of these works to the middle and later periods of Turner’s career, see the section introduction.
1
Peter Bower, Turner’s Later Papers: A Study of the Manufacture, Selection and Use of his Drawing Papers 1820–1851, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.82 note 1.
Verso:
Blank

John Chu
June 2015

Read full Catalogue entry

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