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Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 230 x 328 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D35381
Turner Bequest CCCLVI 20

Catalogue entry

This is a rough sketch of the profile of a cliff as it slopes towards the shoreline. Meandering and broken pencil jottings evoke the craggy geology of the cliff. There is some suggestion of buildings atop the range. Brisk dry-brush strokes and dabs of brown pigment begin to add a sense of tone to the cliff face. The thin strip of yellow wash at the bottom offers the briefest hint of sandy beach while the sea is simply jotted in with rough scrawls of blue wash. A headland in the distance is rendered in the same blue graded wash as the sea. A small area of brown pigment paired with vivid indigo in the centre lends Turner’s colouring in this work an almost abstract character. Turner has inscribed ‘F[?k]’ in pencil at the bottom right, presumably shorthand for Folkestone.

Alice Rylance-Watson
February 2013

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