Joseph Mallord William Turner

Rain Clouds and a Fisherman, ?near Boulogne


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache, graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 230 x 326 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLVIII 6

Catalogue entry

Here a simple anecdote of man confronted by the forces of nature is told by the figure of fisherman retreating to dry land as a storm breaks over the sea. For David Blayney Brown, such ‘lonely’ figures contributed to a pervasive sense of melancholy – ‘meditative, withdrawn and silent’ – in the sketches from this tour.1
Three rough circles and a sweep of the pencil indicate the figure’s burden while four or five dabs of ochre stand in for reflections in the wet sand, a tilted head, and a stolid upper body bending under its encumbrance. A turbulent sky and sea is achieved with vigorous, wet-on-wet strokes of grey-blue and purple-brown; small, thick dabs of the latter pigment have been smeared down to the horizon line with a wet brush to create a violent cloud-burst.
Compare the storm clouds on folio 12 recto (D35415; Turner Bequest CCCLVIII 13).
Brown 1987, p.12.
Blank, except for slight patches of purple watercolour from folio 6 recto opposite (D35409;
Turner Bequest CCCLVIII 7).

John Chu
November 2013

Read full Catalogue entry


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