Joseph Mallord William Turner

Houses on the Front at Weymouth


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 75 x 117 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXIII 44 a

Catalogue entry

This is a continuation of the Georgian houses on the Esplanade to the right, running north of the main view of Weymouth on the recto of the present leaf (D08445). Because of the orientation of the original drawing, Turner could not slide the page back and carry on side-by-side on the next leaf as he often did; instead he simply turned over the leaf and continued from the left-hand edge, so the two sections of the view cannot be seen at the same time.
Apparently unaware of the main drawing on the recto, Howard Hanley states that the present sketch is the only one consulted for the watercolour Weymouth, Dorsetshire of about 1811 (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven), engraved in 1814 for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England;1 as noted by Eric Shanes, the sketches on both sides of the leaf were used2 (see the concordance of the series in the 1811 tour introduction). Boats and figures including bathers were introduced to the beach at the lower right of the watercolour, at the point corresponding to the blank foreground below the curve of the water-line sketched here. Turner imagines lovers writing their names in the sand in his verses on folio 68 verso (D08493; CXXIII 65a).
Probably in preparation for his 1811 tour, Turner made notes on Weymouth and its surroundings from a recent edition of John Feltham’s Guide to All the Watering and Sea-Bathing Places in the Vale of Heathfield sketchbook (Tate D10206; Turner Bequest CXXXVII 1).

Matthew Imms
June 2011

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.351 no.448, reproduced; see Hanley 1992, p.28, and illustrations: ‘Cat.43’ (modern photograph), ‘Cat.44’ (engraving by J. Crane, 1789), and ‘Cat.45’ (watercolour by John Upham, circa 1812).
Shanes 1981, p.152.

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