Joseph Mallord William Turner The Lighthouses and Piers in Sunderland Harbour 1817

Artwork details

The Lighthouses and Piers in Sunderland Harbour
From Durham, North Shore, Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CLVII
Date 1817
Medium Graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 116 x 185 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLVII 2
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

This slight sketch shows the north and south piers and lighthouses flanking the entrance to Sunderland Harbour, looking east out to sea along the south pier. A painting by Thomas Miles Richardson, Senior (1784–1848), shows the same view including the mast at the centre of Turner’s sketch (Sunderland Museum), while William Daniell’s 1822 aquatint of the scene for his Voyage Round Great Britain shows the two piers and lighthouses from a similar viewpoint (Tate impression: T02930). Only the stump of the southern pier survives, and there has been extensive rebuilding around the harbour.
The mast appears to be the same one seen in the view from the other direction on folio 1 recto (D12318), the first of a sequence of Sunderland views running on to folio 5 recto (D12324).

Matthew Imms
February 2010

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