Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Lighthouse at Marseilles from the Sea


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

Watercolour and gouache on paper
Support: 142 x 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 139

Display caption

Turner's route to Rome in 1828 took him via the Mediterranean coast of France during the humid days of August and September. He wrote, 'I must see the South of France, which almost knocked me up, and the heat was so intense particularly at Nismes and Avignon; and until I got a plunge into the sea at Marseilles, I felt so weak that nothing but the change of scene kept me onwards to my distant point'. Many of the colour sketches resulting from his waterborne journey along the coast are striking for their vivid and often unusual use of colour.

Gallery label, January 1991