Joseph Mallord William Turner

Folkestone Harbour


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

Watercolour on paper
Support: 230 x 328 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLVI 4

Catalogue entry

The timberwork of a jetty, rendered in short verticals of purple paint intersecting the central register, presumably belongs to the original 1809 construction of Folkestone harbour by the engineer Thomas Telford.1 The striking crane-like structure, perhaps a pile-driving machine, is painted in intense black pigment. Behind it is what appears to be a steamboat, identified by the thin trail of steam dispersing into the sky. There are further buildings suggested in the distance to the left. The foreground is largely unresolved, filled in with vigorous divergent strokes of pigment. For other works featuring steamboats in this sketchbook see folios 2, 18, 22 recto (D35363, D35380, D35384).
See ‘Folkestone Harbour History’, Folkestone Harbour Company, accessed 18 February 2013,
Technical notes:
Some of the watercolour continues onto the opposite page.

Alice Rylance-Watson
February 2013

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