Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sea and Sky?, English Coast

c.1830–45

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 192 x 275 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D36228
Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 366

Display caption

Turner’s watercolours often convey the impression of a fleeting moment. By concentrating on the view of the horizon he is able to focus on the transitory apprearance of either the ocean, or the sky, or sometimes both.

Many of the late informal studies of the sea were painted at Margate, where Turner often stayed from the late 1820s. The rooms of his landlady, Mrs Booth, overlooked the harbour and the coast. According to John Ruskin, Turner maintained that the loveliest skies in Europe were to be found around Margate.

Gallery label, April 2005

Catalogue entry

This is one of a large number of sketches on loose sheets of paper depicting coastal terrain and seagoing vessels in various combinations. Turner specialist Eric Shanes has made a possible connection between this sheet and preparations for Turner’s Picturesque Views on the East Coast of England engraving series.1 For the grouping and dating of these works to the middle and later periods of Turner’s career, see the section introduction.
1
Evelyn Joll, Martin Butlin and Luke Herrmann (eds.), The Oxford Companion to J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 2001, p.82
Technical Notes:
A margin of darker blue paper around the edge of the sheet indicates prolonged exposure to light.
Verso:
Pencil note reading ‘CCCLXIV – 366’. Stamped in black with the Turner Bequest monogram and ‘CCCLXIV – 366’.

John Chu
June 2015

Read full Catalogue entry

Explore

You might like