Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Sailing Ship


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 89 × 113 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Catalogue entry

With the page inverted relative to the foliation, half the page is taken up with the following pencil notes:
     28         Earle __ of Hull
of Geo III p. 1806
                         oct 6 1806
[?Turner] Cliffords Inn –
            a [?Italian]
‘28 of Geo III’ is legal phraseology to indicate a law enacted in the twenty-eighth year of the reign of George III (1760–1820). Clifford’s Inn was an inn of chancery (a society of solicitors and attorneys) in London’s legal district; it was sold off in 1903 and demolished in 1934 except for a small gatehouse which survives down Clifford’s Inn Passage, running north off Fleet Street just west of St Dunstan-in-the-West’s Church and Fetter Lane.1 The significance of the information remains to be established.
Drawn with the page turned horizontally, a large sailing ship is shown, apparently with a small sailing boat behind or beyond it. These may have been observed off Margate or in the Pool of London (see the Introduction).
See Clare Rider, ‘Lost in the Past : The Rediscovered Archives of Clifford’s Inn’, The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, accessed 27 February 2014,
Technical notes:
The page is somewhat stained by the leather overlaps from the back cover and the acidic board over which it is pasted.

Matthew Imms
May 2014

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