Joseph Mallord William Turner

Boats and a Ship under Sail


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 102 × 160 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXLIII 8

Catalogue entry

Drawn with the page turned horizontally, this is the first of ten sketches which Finberg called ‘Vessels sailing’, which constitute the remainder of the drawings in the sketchbook, otherwise largely blank beyond the rectos of its first few leaves, at least some of which are views on the River Thames.
The other studies are on folios 8 verso–9 recto, 62 verso, 63 verso, 64 verso, 65 verso, 66 verso, 81 verso, 82 verso, 83 recto (D41532–D10785, D10839, D10841, D10843, D10845, D10847, D10863, D10865, D10866). They show a mixture of boats and ships with sails set. Some are rapidly sketched, suggesting their passing at speed; they may have been observed on the broad reach of the Thames at Greenwich, as the Royal Naval Hospital appears on folio 7 recto (D10783). There are occasional suggestions, as here, of a distant coast or riverbank, which would be the north bank of the Thames at the Isle of Dogs if the viewpoint were Greenwich.

Matthew Imms
September 2013

Read full Catalogue entry


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