In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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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

Display caption

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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Catalogue entry

This is one of a large number of sketches on loose sheets of paper depicting coastal terrain and seagoing vessels in various combinations. For the grouping and dating of these works to the middle and later periods of Turner’s career, see the section introduction.
Pencil note reading ‘33’ and ‘CCCLXV ,11.’. Stamped in black ink with the Turner Bequest monogram and ‘CCCLXV – 11’.

John Chu
June 2015

Read full Catalogue entry


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