Joseph Mallord William Turner

Shipping off Portsmouth with the Vulcan Block, Cathedral and Square Tower Semaphore Station

?1824

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 160 x 100 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17914
Turner Bequest CCVI 1 a

Catalogue entry

With the page turned vertically, there are six studies here. The upper two record warships and sailing boats in Portsmouth Harbour. Next come three waterfront views, the middle one showing the clock tower of the Vulcan Block storehouse and the dome of Portsmouth Cathedral from the west. At the bottom left is a detail of the Square Tower semaphore station.
This is one of a continuous series of views around Portsmouth between folios 1 recto and 20 recto (D17913–D17951); many appear to have been made from a boat; for the overall sequence and details of the most prominent buildings and defences, see the Introduction. This page has been mentioned1 in relation to the watercolours Portsmouth of about 1824 (Lady Lever Art Galley, Port Sunlight),2 engraved in 1825 for Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England (Tate impressions: T04419, T05302–T05304, T05994), and Portsmouth of about 1824–5 (Tate D18152; Turner Bequest CCVIII S),3 engraved in 1828 for The Ports of England, and reissued in 1856 in The Harbours of England (Tate impressions: T04833, T04834), but the connection in this case is only in terms of the general subject.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

1
See Butlin, Wilton and Gage 1974, p.94, re Ports and Southern Coast, Wilton 1979, p.387, re Ports, and Shanes 2001, p.159, re Ports.
2
Wilton 1979, p.354 no.477, reproduced.
3
Ibid., p.387 no.756, reproduced.

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