Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Semaphore Signals at Portsmouth

?1824

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 100 x 160 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17982
Turner Bequest CCVI 36 a

Catalogue entry

Although the slight, diagrammatic quality of the three related studies here makes their orientation in relation to the sketchbook’s foliation uncertain, they appear to show patterns of semaphore signals from a tower. Turner had drawn the Dockyard and Square Tower semaphore stations at Portsmouth from various viewpoints in the first half of this book; see the Introduction. Given their isolation here, it is not clear whether these signals were observed directly or taken from some published source.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

Read full Catalogue entry

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