Joseph Mallord William Turner Composition Study for a Sea Piece, with Small Boats in Choppy Water c.1799–1805

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Artwork details

Title
Composition Study for a Sea Piece, with Small Boats in Choppy Water
From Calais Pier Sketchbook
Turner Bequest LXXXI
Date c.1799–1805
Medium Chalk on paper
Dimensions Support: 433 x 272 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D05000
Turner Bequest LXXXI 98
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

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This sketchbook contains studies in pencil, pen and ink and chalk for a number of Turner’s early exhibited marine oil paintings. The sketches draw on his imagination as well as recording Turner’s own experiences of being at sea.

In 1802, a brief lull in the Napoleonic Wars permitted travel to France and Turner was able to cross the Channel for the first time. Energetic drawings of waves and spray point to the arduous nature of sea travel at this time. On one page of the book he notes that rough seas ‘nearly swampt’ the passengers disembarking at Calais.

April 2005

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