J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

Dover 1793

Turner Bequest XVI A–H, J, K, M
Turner and Thomas Girtin (1775–1802) seem to have spent time in 1793–4 drawing at Dover on the encouragement of John Henderson (1764–1843), a London neighbour of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) in Adelphi Terrace. Henderson lived first at no.3, then at no.4 between 1790 and 1797. It has been understood that they copied drawings made by Henderson, but the evidence suggests that he in fact copied from them: his work is sometimes ambitious in conception, but always amateur in execution. Some large drawings of scenes in Dover Harbour are elsewhere in the Turner Bequest, and others are in the collection of the British Museum, London (Henderson Bequest). Finberg and C.F. Bell, who studied the drawings of this period carefully, and with respect to the Dover subjects in particular could not make up their minds as to their authorship, offering attributions (as MS addenda to a copy of the Inventory) to Edward Dayes (1763–1804), Girtin and Turner at different times.
In 1933 Finberg added a further note that looking at them again ‘I did not feel at all sure that they are not by Turner.’ The present author has discussed this matter previously, concurring with this broad judgment.1 For this reason, the various inconclusive fluctuations of early twentieth-century scholarly opinion are omitted from the record here; any incidental doubts registered are the author’s own. The energy of these studies relates them to other drawings in the Turner Bequest, and they are catalogued here as certainly by Turner, with the exception of a small tracing of a boat (Tate D00174; Turner Bequest XVI L), which seems to be Girtin’s work.
1
Andrew Wilton, ‘The “Monro School” Question: Some Answers’, Turner Studies, vol.4, no.2, Winter 1984, pp.8–23.

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

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How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Dover 1793’, subset, April 2012, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/dover-r1140224, accessed 28 December 2014.