Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Sailing Boat at Sea

?1827

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 192 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D41016

Catalogue entry

This is one of three pages near the beginning of this sketchbook worked in watercolour alone; see also folios 8 recto and 9 recto (D20607, D20608). The slight but assured sketch shows a small sailing boat apparently with numerous figures on board, set on a perfunctorily indicated sea with a low horizon. Ruskin called it a ‘Colour-study at Sea’ in his definitive catalogue of Turner Bequest loans to Oxford University on 1878,1 having initially described it as a ‘Lugger going out’.2
The subject may have been observed in the vicinity of Cowes; for more on studies in this sketchbook relating to the regatta events at Cowes from late July 1827 onwards, see the Introduction.
1
Cook and Wederburn 1904, p.564 no.101.
2
See ibid., footnote 7, concerning the uncirculated initial version of the catalogue.
Technical notes:
Finberg only recorded a ‘Leaf cut out’ at this point in his 1909 Inventory,1 subsequently identifying the present work as belonging at this point, as folio ‘[10] c} Colour study of Sea. Oxford 101–160’ among ‘3 leaves found after Invy. was printed’2 (see the concordance in the Introduction), the recto being D20612 (Turner Bequest CCXXVI 10b).

Matthew Imms
November 2015

1
A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.II, p.695.
2
Undated MS note by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, II, opposite p.695.

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