Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sailing Boat off Blythe Sands


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

Graphite on paper
Support: 111 x 181 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXVIII 20

Catalogue entry

This sketch depicts a vessel sailing past the Blythe Sands mudflats in the Thames estuary. Turner’s inscription ‘NW’ either suggests that this is a view to the north-west from Blythe Sands towards Canvey Island, or that the view is of Blythe Sands from the north-west. Two basket-shaped structures on poles to the right of the boat mark the end of groynes. There are further sketches of the mouth of the Thames on folio 2 verso (D26098), which were probably made on a steamboat journey from London to Margate.
Turner had exhibited a painting of fishing boats off Blythe Sands at his own gallery in 1809; Fishing upon the Blythe-Sand (Tate N00496).1 This sketch has a similar composition to that painting, but in reverse.
There is a small brown stain at the top left of the page.

Thomas Ardill
January 2011

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.65 no.87.

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