Joseph Mallord William Turner

South Quay at Yarmouth


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 115 x 118 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCIX 24 a

Catalogue entry

These three detailed views were taken at the thriving port of Yarmouth on the Norfolk coast. Turner depicts the South Quay there, with its parade of merchants’ houses, storehouses, halls, taverns, customs offices, and eighteenth-century residences. The lowermost prospect, which was rendered with the sketchbook turned upside down, shows a drawbridge crossing the River Yare. John Henry Druery, author of The Historical and Topographical Notices of Great Yarmouth (1826), writes that the wooden drawbridge was erected in 1785 to replace its medieval original. The ‘middle arch’, Druery writes, ‘is raised by the mechanical power of four cast-iron wheels, at the extremities of which chains are attached, and a hand rope’.1
Further sketches of the quay are found on Tate D18194–D18196, D18202, D18204; Turner Bequest CCIX 20–21, 24, 25. Turner’s sketches of Yarmouth are associated with designs for both the England and Wales (Tate impression T04547) and East Coast engraving schemes, though the latter design, housed at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, was unpublished.2

Alice Rylance-Watson
January 2015

John Henry Druery, The Historical and Topographical Notices of Great Yarmouth, in Norfolk, and its Environs, London 1826, p.70.
Wilton 1979, p.394 no.810 and 405 no.904.

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like