Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Royal Squadron at Anchor


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

Graphite on paper
Support: 114 x 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CC 50 a

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook inverted is a sketch of two vessels, belonging to the royal squadron, and anchored at Leith Roads. Turner made about forty-five sketches of shipping at Leith (see George IV’s Visit to Edinburgh 1822 Introduction), and this is an example of one of his more careful, diagrammatic drawing which records the different boats in the squadron. The two three-masted boats are shown without the flags and bunting that adorned their rigging on 15 August when the King disembarked at Leith, so they may have been made either on the 14th when they had just arrived or later in the visit. The inscriptions, ‘14’ and ‘9’, presumably refer to measurements of boat parts.
The sketch continues, or a second similar sketch is made, on folio 51 (D17593) where there are four more boats.

Thomas Ardill
August 2008

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