Joseph Mallord William Turner Coastline, from Galley Hill to Pevensey Bay c.1806–10

Artwork details

Coastline, from Galley Hill to Pevensey Bay
From Herstmonceux and Pevensey Sketchbook
Turner Bequest XCI
Date c.1806–10
Medium Chalk and graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 128 x 201 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XCI 11
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Catalogue entry

As observed by Eric Shanes, followed by Joyce Townsend and Ian Warrell, this drawing from near Galley Hill (seen on the right) just east of Bexhill towards Pevensey Bay was the basis of the sepia-toned watercolour (Tate D08138; Turner Bequest CXVII K) engraved both for the Liber Studiorum (1811) and Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England (1817). Turner’s title for the Liber plate was ‘Martello Towers, near Bexhill, Sussex’ and the sepia shows a chain of these defensive structures stretching into the distance along the beach towards Pevensey Bay. They are not present here, unless as Matthew Imms has suggested, one is under construction in the middle distance. Building of the towers began in 1805 and continued until 1812 by which time the threat of French invasion had passed.
For a drawing probably from near the same spot further up from the beach see folio 10 of the sketchbook (D05627).

David Blayney Brown
March 2011

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