Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Tower on the Coast


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 215 × 160 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLIX 265a

Catalogue entry

This sheet was not recorded by the Turner Bequest’s first cataloguer, A.J. Finberg, in his 1909 Inventory, and seems to have been previously attached to the verso of Tate D24830 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 265), which is also catalogued within this section.1 Ian Warrell listed the sheet as one of the four possibly meant by the inscription ‘4 vig. For the East Coast’ on Tate D27627 (Turner Bequest CCLXXX 110). This study has thus been connected to an abandoned print project known as ‘Picturesque Views on the East Coast of England’; for more information about this project see the Introduction to this section. While this study did not result in a finished watercolour or a print, its format and blue paper support, as well as its coastal subject matter, suggest it was made with the series in mind.
The principle subject matter of this loosely handled colour study is a coastal tower, with another building beyond; these structures are also reflected in the water below. Turner used warm browns and reds to indicate the structure of the buildings and land, in contrast to the blues of the water and sky and the paler blue of the paper support.
See A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.II, p.805.
Technical notes:
The paper around the image is very discoloured as a result of light exposure and would have been blue in Turner’s day. There is further discolouration on the top edge of the paper. On the verso of the sheet remnants of previous mounting can be seen.
Blank, save for inscription in pencil: ‘CCLIX 265a’.

Elizabeth Jacklin
August 2018

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