Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sea and Sky, ?English Coast

c.1832

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 279 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D36285
Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 417

Display caption

The modern concept of abstraction would not have been understood or endorsed in the nineteenth century, even by an artist as experimental as Turner. He would not have intended these late, loose colour beginnings to have been exhibited during his lifetime.

Nevertheless, in each of these works the elements of the composition are reduced to the barest representation of sea and sky. These private, informal studies reveal Turner’s intuitive ability to think of landscape in terms of pure colour.

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
Verso:
Pencil notes reading ‘28’ and ‘47’. Red ink note reading ‘417 | ccclxiv. 295’. Stamped in black with the Turner Bequest monogram and ‘CCCLXIV – 417’.

John Chu
June 2015

Read full Catalogue entry

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