Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Sailing Ship at Sea

1845

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 86 × 111 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D35488
Turner Bequest CCCLXI 1 a

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, this study of the port side of a ship under sail includes some shading, suggesting sunlight casting shadow from the foremast’s sails to the mainmast’s. The apparent inscription ‘true HL’, presumably indicating the sea’s horizon line some way above the hull, suggests an elevated coastal viewpoint, likely overlooking the Channel. The dark marks at the bottom left may be figures on the shore.
Other aspects of light, colours and conditions are noted with typical brevity; see the sketchbook’s Introduction for the many slight coastal and shipping views and inscribed studies of clouds and the sun over the sea scattered through it.
Technical notes:
The whole page has darkened, possibly as a result of water damage in the 1928 Tate flood.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

Read full Catalogue entry

Explore

You might like

In the shop