Joseph Mallord William Turner

Folkestone, with the Church of St Mary and St Eanswythe and a Martello Tower in the Distance

1845

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

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
D35370
Turner Bequest CCCLVI 10

Catalogue entry

Turner has produced this pencil and watercolour drawing with the sketchbook turned upside down relative to the foliation. The building at the left is most likely Folkestone’s main parish Church of St Mary and St Eanswythe, built in 1216 on Saxon foundations.1 Turner has made a light pencil under-drawing of the church complex: its square tower and a suggestion of the exterior façades of the transepts and nave. The church stands atop a range overlooking the shoreline. Establishing compositional arrangements through the application of broad areas of translucent wash, Turner has used light-brown wash to fill in the range and the church complex. At the foot of the range are a number of buildings summarily sketched in; the most discernable of these seems to be a lighthouse positioned close to the shoreline. Turner has highlighted these central features in broken dabs and short strokes of reddish-purple wash which extend to the bottom right. Beyond the church atop the next headland, is the outline of an isolated squat building, probably a Martello tower, one of many small defensive forts built along the Kent and Sussex coasts from Folkestone to Seaford during the Napoleonic Wars. A fine pencil outline of cliffs extending above and beyond the church and tower can be seen but has been left unpainted by Turner.
For earlier pencil sketches of St Mary’s and St Eanswythe’s Church, see also Turner’s view of the Lees and the church from the Stade in his Richmond Hill; Hastings to Margate sketchbook of c.1816–19 (Tate D10479; Turner Bequest CXL 36a); the Folkestone sketchbook of c.1821 (Tate D17235, D17248, D17252, D17253; Turner Bequest CXCVIII 17a, 24a, 27a, 28); and the Holland sketchbook of 1825 (Tate D18855, D18857, D18859, D18860, D19399; Turner Bequest CCXIV 8, CCXIV 9, CCXIV 10, CCXIV 10a, CCXIV 282).

Alice Rylance-Watson
February 2013

1
‘Folkestone – The Church of St Mary and St Eanswythe’, Kent Resources, accessed 18 February 2013, http://www.kentresources.co.uk/folkestone-ssme1.htm.

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