Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Composition Study for a Sea Piece, with Small Boats in Choppy Water
From Calais Pier Sketchbook
Turner Bequest LXXXI
Medium Chalk on paper
Dimensions Support: 433 x 272 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXXI 99
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
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.
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