Joseph Mallord William Turner

Figures ?on Board a Packet Boat or at a Quayside

c.1830

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: 76 x 98 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D35808
Turner Bequest CCCLXIII 28

Catalogue entry

This candid outdoor sketch of men in tall hats and women in bonnets continues half way across folio 28 verso opposite (D35807; Turner Bequest CCCLXIII 27v). Although they are shown without any surroundings, Finberg noted the group as ‘on board a packet’,1 that is to say a commercial cargo and passenger vessel – a steamer, by this date – of the sort that would have taken Turner on his customary journeys down the River Thames to Margate (see under folio 10 verso; D35776).
The people are all turned away in a line and seem to be watching something, so they may well be looking over the rail of a ship, or perhaps waiting for one beside the sea. See also the hastily rendered, smaller groupings on folios 14 verso and 15 recto (D35784–D35785).

Matthew Imms
September 2016

1
Fiberg 1909, II, p.1178.

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