View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
Like the other rapid sketches in this book, this relates to the arrival of Louis-Philippe, King of the French, at Portsmouth Harbour on 8 October 1844, as discussed in the Introductions to the sketchbook and the overall section. There are three waterfront views here. As Ian Warrell has noted,1 the buildings include Portsmouth’s former Square Tower semaphore station, shown inverted at the bottom right with flags flying on the Victoria Pier to its west. For other views of the tower, see under folio 2 verso (D35688); compare in particular folios 13 recto and 14 verso (D35708, D35709).
At the bottom, the Eighteen Gun Battery and Round Tower are seen to the north-west from the Saluting Platform. Compare Edward William Cooke’s 1836 painting of the Semaphore at Portsmouth (National Maritime Museum, London), while at the top the Gosport blockhouse is shown to the west across the harbour’s mouth, apparently with smoke on the horizon from a distant steamship. See also folios 13 recto and 20 recto (D35708, D35721).
See Warrell 2013, p.10; see also p.12.