Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Barges by a River; a Steamer at Sea, Perhaps off Margate; Studies of Sails


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
Turner Bequest CCXLI 53 a

Catalogue entry

The sketches here were made with the page turned horizontally both ways. With the gutter at the top, across the middle are small boats with what may be a barge with an awning towards the left. A slight suggestion of trees beyond may indicate that this is a river scene. There are wooded river scenes elsewhere in this sketchbook; see the Introduction.
Below, along the outer edge, is the horizon of the sea with the silhouette of a steamer trailing black smoke. The significance of the number ‘16’ inscribed beneath is unclear, unless Turner has actually counted the puffs of smoke represented by his zigzag line. The ship may have been observed off or on the way to Margate, which is shown on other pages; again, see the Introduction. There may be another steamer on folio 54 verso (D22525).
The other way up, above the gutter, is a sequence of three studies of a billowing sail. These may relate to the study of boats on folio 54 recto opposite (D22524).

Matthew Imms
May 2014

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like

In the shop