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In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 280 × 440 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLXV 11

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In the mid-1840s Turner made a number of watercolour studies of beaches, sea and sky, which are purely exercises for his private satisfaction. Executed in apparently rapid and very fluid washes, in strongly horizontal sweeps, they are remarkable for the feeling of space and freedom they possess. Some also have an atmosphere of loneliness and isolation. Breaking waves, sunsets and storms are the predominant subject matter of these works. Many were probably made on the coast of Kent, where Turner was a frequent visitor. He stayed with Sophia Booth at her Margate boarding house. She became his companion, and in 1846 Turner moved her to his house by the Thames, in what is now Cheyne Walk.

Gallery label, August 2004

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