View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
As recognised by David Blayney Brown,1 this evocative view is to the west over Margate’s Great Beach past the jetty of Jarvis’s Landing Place to the stone pier, with Droit House and the lighthouse beyond, silhouetted against a pearly afternoon sky. Out in the Thames Estuary, a good deal of smoke is being blown by an east wind from the funnel of a steamer which has perhaps just departed for London, leaving the pale forms of a horse and rider and another figure alone on the beach.
The view may be directly from Mrs Booth’s house on Bank Side, and Ian Warrell has suggested Turner ‘may have worked directly from nature. The barely diluted smear of paint used to describe the trailing smoke from the steamer preserves the appearance of having been rapidly applied in order to catch a fleeting impression.’2 Compare the melancholy mood in a late watercolour of Margate at sunset (Tate N05239), and in the painting The New Moon; or, ‘I’ve lost My Boat, You shan’t have Your Hoop’, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1840 (Tate N00526).3
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘ccclxiv.’ bottom right; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram over ‘CCCLXIV – 173’ towards bottom right.