Joseph Mallord William Turner Two Sailing Boats: A Gaff-Rigged Ketch to the Left and a Spritsail Cutter to the Right c.1805–6

Artwork details

Artist
Title
Two Sailing Boats: A Gaff-Rigged Ketch to the Left and a Spritsail Cutter to the Right
From Hesperides (1) Sketchbook
Turner Bequest XCIII
Date c.1805–6
Medium Pen and ink on paper
Dimensions Support: 171 x 262 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D40634
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Catalogue entry

Perhaps drawn on a trip down the Thames; see Introduction to the sketchbook and note to the recto (D05838).
Turner’s various inscriptions are as follows: by the sails on the left, ‘13’ by the mast and ‘11’ at the boom; by those on the right, ‘13’ at the mast, ‘16’ at the boom, ‘12’ at the top and ‘18’ on the right. Further to right, these columns of figures, that on left referring to the right sail, that on right to the left sail:
12          13 
13          11 
18          12 
16          22 
3/61        3/57    [sic; actually 59, 58] 
20          19 yds 
As Hill observes, Turner must be trying to work out which sail has the greater area. Both columns of addition are wrong. See folio 15 verso (D05790) for a further study of a cutter.

David Blayney Brown
October 2007

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