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

Joseph Mallord William Turner Study for Unidentified Vignettes: Cod on the Beach circa 1835

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Study for Unidentified Vignettes: Cod on the Beach circa 1835
D27521
Turner Bequest CCLXXX 4
Pencil, watercolour, and gouache on board, 200 x 152 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘(4’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCLXXX 4’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The subject of this vignette combines landscape elements with a carefully composed still-life. In the foreground a catch of cod and red snapper lies next to a mooring ring. In the distance, small figures standing on a quay watch a group of fishing boats tossed about by a turbulent sea. The illustration belongs to a group of four finished designs that Turner produced for an unidentified project (see also Tate D27520; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 3, Tate D25465; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 342 and Tate D25466; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 343). The other designs retain a similar format and depict lobsters and crabs, sprats, plaice, and mackerel respectively. None of the watercolours was ever engraved for publication. For a detailed discussion of the group see Tate D27520; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 3.
James Hamilton has observed the close relationship between the cod in this drawing and the sea monsters that appear in a later oil painting, Sunrise with Sea-Monsters 1845 (Tate, N01990).1
1
Hamilton 2003, p.110; Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, no.473.
Verso:
Inscribed by unknown hands in pencil ‘120| a’ centre right-hand edge and ‘CCLXXX’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCLXXX 4’ lower left

Meredith Gamer
August 2006

How to cite

Meredith Gamer, ‘Study for Unidentified Vignettes: Cod on the Beach c.1835 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, August 2006, 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/joseph-mallord-william-turner-study-for-unidentified-vignettes-cod-on-the-beach-r1133876, accessed 12 July 2014.