Joseph Mallord William Turner

Purfleet

c.1805–8

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 115 x 190 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D06474
Turner Bequest XCIX 66 a

Catalogue entry

Drawn with the sketchbook inverted. There seems to be no very strong connection with Purfleet and the Essex Shore as Seen from Long Reach (private collection)1 exhibited at Turner’s Gallery in 1808 save perhaps in the distant ship at centre; otherwise the Essex bank of the Thames is shown differently, mainly to left of centre in the sketch and more distantly on the right in the picture, while a larger ship and other vessels are present in the picture. The main interest of Purfleet in Turner’s day was the group of five large powder magazines and proof house that were used to test, store and supply gunpowder. The outline of some of these massive buildings can probably be seen in this sketch.

David Blayney Brown
March 2009

1
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.57 no.74 (pl.84).

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