Joseph Mallord William Turner

Three Studies of Clouds over the Sea, One by Moonlight

c.1820–40

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 542 x 336 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25244
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 122

Catalogue entry

With the sheet turned vertically, Turner has evoked three widely varying skies, with moonlit clouds over a dark horizon at the centre, a bright sky over what appears to be a choppy sea inverted at the top, and a more ambiguous scene at the bottom, with dark storm clouds over a rough sea or uneven land or possibly, if again inverted, over a bright horizon.
A colour plate of this work in the Tate Gallery’s 1973 Landscape in Britain exhibition is wrongly captioned as showing, another exhibit comprising various cloud studies (Tate D25241; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 119).1 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;2 see also Tate D25253 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 131) in the present subsection.
1
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. 216, with D25241 as no.217.
2
See Warrell 1991, p.41.
Verso:
Blank; not available for inspection at time of writing.

Matthew Imms
March 2016

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