Joseph Mallord William Turner

Calais Harbour and the Fort Rouge


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 118 × 78 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXVI 187 a

Catalogue entry

These previously unidentified sketches, catalogued by Finberg as ‘Coast scenes’, can now be shown to depict the northern French port city of Calais. Turner arrived there on 9 September 1824 and returned five days later on the 14th, the eve of his departure back to England.
Drawing the prospects before him with the sketchbook turned upside down, here Turner records aspects of Calais Harbour and the Fort Rouge (Tate D19924; Turner Bequest CCXVI 187). At rear a jetty is pictured with figures walking towards the end of it; the Fort Rouge can be seen out to sea at left. This wooden fortress, supported by a network of stilts, is depicted again at far left in the central view and in the upper prospect. Turner has also made two swift jottings of a schooner navigating into the harbour. For other illustrations of the Red Fort see Tate D04199, D19925, D24879; Turner Bequest LXX 17, CCXVI 187a, CCLX 43 and Tate impression T05686.

Alice Rylance-Watson
June 2014

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