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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Purfleet c.1805-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 70 Verso:
Purfleet circa 1805–8
Turner Bequest XCIX 66a
Pencil on off-white wove paper, 115 x 190 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘Purfleet’ lower centre
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Drawn with the sketchbook inverted. There seems to be no very strong connection with Purfleet and the Essex Shore as Seen from Long Reach (private collection)1 exhibited at Turner’s Gallery in 1808 save perhaps in the distant ship at centre; otherwise the Essex bank of the Thames is shown differently, mainly to left of centre in the sketch and more distantly on the right in the picture, while a larger ship and other vessels are present in the picture. The main interest of Purfleet in Turner’s day was the group of five large powder magazines and proof house that were used to test, store and supply gunpowder. The outline of some of these massive buildings can probably be seen in this sketch.

David Blayney Brown
March 2009

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.57 no.74 (pl.84).

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Purfleet c.1805–8 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2009, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-purfleet-r1130670, accessed 24 June 2018.