Joseph Mallord William Turner

Rain Falling over the Sea ?near Boulogne

1845

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 238 x 336 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D35397
Turner Bequest CCCLVII 11

Catalogue entry

In this sketch, a yellow horizon gives way to rain clouds which scatter showers over the sea. Having flooded the page with water, Turner alternated dark grey and blue glazes to create a sea and ‘lifted off’ passages to describe its textures. Meanwhile the clouds assume an almost solid mass as the rain falls in thick curving lines. The artist Mike Chaplin discovered that Turner achieved this heavy rainfall effect with his fingers.1 In these distinctive strokes, Robert K. Wallace perceived the ribs of a butchered whale carcass and connected it to Turner’s current interest in whaling imagery, as discussed under the entry on D35391 (Turner Bequest CCCLVII 6).2
On the other side of this sheet is D35398 (Turner Bequest CCCLVII 11a), inverted in relation to the present sketch.

John Chu
December 2013

1
Moorby, Warrell, Chaplin and others 2010, pp.54–7.
2
Wallace 1992, pp.538.

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