Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Fishing Boat among Breakers, with Figures in the Water

c.1801–2

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Ink and graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 118 × 182 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D03986
Turner Bequest LXVIII 2

Catalogue entry

In this drawing Turner reverts to the theme of maritime catastrophe that he had explored in the On a Lee Shore (1) sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest LXVII). This appears to be a different vessel from that swamped in breakers Tate D03980 and D03982 (Turner Bequest LXVII 6, 7) in that book; it has two sails like the boat on Tate D03977 (Turner Bequest LXVII 4) there.
Technical notes:
The page is faded and discoloured from prolonged exposure. Here Turner begins to exploit the middle tone of the grey-blue paper by scraping to reveal the white paper support, a technique that heightens the rendering of turbulent seas on the rectos of folios 3, 4 and 5, and folios 5 verso–6 recto (D03987–D03991).
Verso:
Blank; inscribed by Ruskin in pen and red ink ‘1171’.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

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