Joseph Mallord William Turner

Luggage or Cargo on a Beach, with Houses and a Cart and Boats in the Distance


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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache on paper
Support: 140 x 191 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 225

Technique and condition

Watercolour sketch in brown, ochre, red and black on a medium weight, wove, blue, rag paper support. In general the support is in good condition with little damage or discolouration. Some burnishing and loss of the media has occurred in the foreground. It appears that there was little binding medium in the paint.

The image depicts a pile of baskets and luggage in orange and brown bags marked with the initials ‘CW’. Just behind pairs of horses pulling carts with boats in the distance. To the right there appears to be a cloud of smoke rising up. The watercolour has been applied with a brush in blocks of colour with finer more detailed brush strokes on top to show more detail of the wicker baskets and initials.

Katharine Lockett
August 2003

Catalogue entry

The heap on the beach in the foreground appears to comprise baskets and bales, parcels or sacks, and may be luggage for a sea voyage or items of cargo. A horse-drawn cart presumably there to convey them is shown further off, with boats in the bay beyond. For scenes of passengers awaiting embarkation, see the Introduction.
As discussed there, this is one of the seaside subjects which Ian Warrell tentatively suggested as linked to Brighton around 1827, while noting that they could equally well show scenes in England or France on other occasions.1
See Warrell 1989, pp.120, 123 note 114.
Blank; inscribed by John Ruskin in pencil ‘232 | O’ top left, upside down.

Matthew Imms
December 2015

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