Joseph Mallord William Turner

Study for ‘The Shipwreck’

c.1799–1805

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

Medium
Chalk on paper
Dimensions
Support: 271 x 436 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D04903
Turner Bequest LXXXI 2

Catalogue entry

The painting The Shipwreck was exhibited in Turner’s own gallery in 1805 (Tate N00476),1 and he was sufficiently proud of it to have it engraved in mezzotint by Charles Turner two years later (Tate impression: P79356). With the page turned horizontally, here the principal motif of the picture, a single sail tossed obliquely against a dark sea, is already in place, although almost all the detail of the design remains to be worked out.
Other studies for the painting are on folios 3 verso, 41 verso–42 recto, 67 verso–68 recto, 69 verso–70 recto, and 71 verso–72 recto (D04907, D04982–D04983, D05034–D05035, D05038–D05039, D05042–D05043; Turner Bequest LXXXI 6, 80–81, 132–133, 136–7, 140–1). See also the Shipwreck (1) sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest LXXXVII).

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

1
Butlin and Joll 1984, p.43 no.54, pl.64 (colour).

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