Joseph Mallord William Turner

Defences in Portsmouth Harbour, with the Square Tower Semaphore Station and Portsmouth Cathedral

?1824

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 100 x 160 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17918
Turner Bequest CCVI 3 a

Catalogue entry

There are four profiles of the waterfront around Portsmouth Harbour here. The second is the most readily recognisable, with the tower at Baltic Wharf and the Square Tower semaphore tower on the left, and Portsmouth Cathedral on the right.
This is one of a continuous series of views around Portsmouth between folios 1 recto and 20 recto (D17913–D17951); many appear to have been made from a boat; for the overall sequence and details of the most prominent buildings and defences, see the Introduction. This page has been linked1 to the watercolours Portsmouth of about 1824 (Lady Lever Art Galley, Port Sunlight),2 engraved in 1825 for Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England (Tate impressions: T04419, T05302–T05304, T05994), and Portsmouth of about 1824–5 (Tate D18152; Turner Bequest CCVIII S),3 engraved in 1828 for The Ports of England, and reissued in 1856 in The Harbours of England (Tate impressions: T04833, T04834). The buildings in the second sketch here appear in both, and they appear to have been transcribed directly in the equivalent section in the Coast design, albeit with the distance from the towers to the cathedral considerably truncated.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

1
See Butlin, Wilton and Gage 1974, p.94, re Ports and Southern Coast, Wilton 1979, p.387, re Ports, Shanes 1981, p.153, re Southern Coast and Ports, and Shanes 2001, p.159, re Ports.
2
Wilton 1979, p.354 no.477, reproduced.
3
Ibid., p.387 no.756, reproduced.

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