Joseph Mallord William Turner

Three Studies of Clouds and Rain over the Sea and Coast


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 550 x 388 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 119

Catalogue entry

With the sheet turned vertically, Turner has evoked three variations of bright but stormy skies. As Eric Shanes has noted, the top and bottom studies show clouds over the sea,1 while the one between lacks a specific setting.2 There seem to be indications of a coastline and vertical features which may be masts on the left of the comparatively calm composition at the bottom.
A colour plate in the Tate Gallery’s 1973 Landscape in Britain exhibition is wrongly captioned as this work; in fact it shows another exhibit similarly comprising bands of cloud studies (Tate D25244; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 122).3 Ian Warrell has noted the latter, the present work and the seascape studies on Tate D25237 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 115) as examples of Turner’s using a single sheet for variant studies;4 see also Tate D25253 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 131) in the present subsection.
See Shanes 1997, p.101.
Ibid., p.102.
Colour plate in Leslie Parris, Landscape in Britain c.1750–1850, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1973, p.84; see also p.92, where the present work is no. 217, with D25244 as no.216.
See Warrell 1991, p.41.
Blank; inscribed by John Ruskin in pencil ‘AB 93 P | O’ bottom left, descending vertically; inscribed in pencil ‘CCLXIII 119’ bottom right; inscribed in pencil ‘cclxiii – 119’ top right; inscribe in pencil ‘119’ top left, descending vertically; stamped in black ‘with Turner Bequest monogram over ‘CCLXIII – 119’ bottom left, descending vertically.

Matthew Imms
March 2016

Read full Catalogue entry


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