Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Shipwreck


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink on paper
Support: 119 × 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXXVIII 17

Catalogue entry

This leaf was shown with folio 19 (D05445; Turner Bequest LXXXVIII 18) as ‘Two sketches of Shipping’ in the Third Loan Collection selected by Ralph Wornum, and perhaps he, if not Ruskin before him, was responsible for associating it with the present book, a connection maintained when the book was rebound. In fact its subject, medium and the watermark of the paper conform to the contents of the Shipwreck (1) sketchbook (Tate D05376–D05427; D40694–D406960; Turner Bequest LXXXVII), while it lacks a number from either of the sequences Ruskin used for the Shipwreck (2) leaves (see Introduction to the sketchbook). In this writer’s opinion the leaf originally belonged between what are now folios 14 and 16 of Shipwreck (1) (D05384, D05396; Turner Bequest LXXXVII 9, 21), a position occupied by a blank leaf added when the book was rebound in 1934. Finberg’s association of the subject with Folkestone would thus rest on a false comparison with other subjects in Shipwreck (2), for example folios 6 and 19 (D05433, D05445; Turner Bequest LXXXVIII 18), with which it has nothing in common and whose own connection with that place is unconfirmed.
The leaf is very faded and discoloured from exposure, the grey washes now appearing as brown.

David Blayney Brown
February 2006

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like

In the shop