Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Hulk, Probably on the River Medway

c.1821

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 112 x 190 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17442
Turner Bequest CXCIX 45 a

Catalogue entry

With the page inverted according to the sketchbook’s foliation, here Turner describes a hulk, as identified by Finberg.1 In light of the topographic focus of this book, it seems likely that he observed the vessel somewhere along the River Medway, possibly at Chatham. The handling is swift but captures confidently the architecture of the vessel. Particular attention seems to have been paid to the bow and rudder, which are addressed at far right with greater application of pressure to the pencil than at other parts of the ship, and shows evidence of several sketched impressions of the shape. Gun ports are indicated along the hull with more precision at right. As Turner moves towards left, these dissolve into brief dashes which indicate position rather than appearance. The stern is neatly described, with the windows of the gallery cleanly marked.

Maud Whatley
January 2016

1
Finberg 1909, I, p.609.

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