Joseph Mallord William Turner
Study for Unidentified Vignettes: Cod on the Beach circa 1835

Artwork details

Artist
Title
Study for Unidentified Vignettes: Cod on the Beach
Date Circa 1835
Medium Graphite, watercolour and gouache on paper
Dimensions Support: 200 x 152 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D27521
Turner Bequest CCLXXX 4
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

The subject of this vignette combines landscape elements with a carefully composed still-life. In the foreground a catch of cod and red snapper lies next to a mooring ring. In the distance, small figures standing on a quay watch a group of fishing boats tossed about by a turbulent sea. The illustration belongs to a group of four finished designs that Turner produced for an unidentified project (see also Tate D27520; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 3, Tate D25465; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 342 and Tate D25466; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 343). The other designs retain a similar format and depict lobsters and crabs, sprats, plaice, and mackerel respectively. None of the watercolours was ever engraved for publication. For a detailed discussion of the group see Tate D27520; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 3.
James Hamilton has observed the close relationship between the cod in this drawing and the sea monsters that appear in a later oil painting, Sunrise with Sea-Monsters 1845 (Tate, N01990).1
1
Hamilton 2003, p.110; Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, no.473.
Verso:
Inscribed by unknown hands in pencil ‘120| a’ centre right-hand edge and ‘CCLXXX’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCLXXX 4’ lower left

Meredith Gamer
August 2006

About this artwork