Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Castle Upnor, Kent


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 303 × 486 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 154

Catalogue entry

Eric Shanes has tentatively linked this colour study to the watercolour Castle Upnor, Kent of about 1831 (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester),1 engraved in 1833 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impression: T06102);2 his identification is followed here in the absence of any more likely, although the study is rather slight and the loose correlation of the shipping with that on the River Medway in the finished design may be fortuitous. The largely clear sky of the latter is dominated by a brilliant low sun between the ships’ masts rather than the billowing grey clouds seen to the left in the present study, which also appears to lack any indication of the Kent castle, prominent on the right in the watercolour. Shanes described the present study as among those ‘created simply to make a scene leap imaginatively and colourfully from a sketchbook page’.3
A ‘colour beginning’ which is accepted as a direct study for Castle Upnor is Tate D25246 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 124). See also the introductions to the present subsection of identified subjects and the overall England and Wales ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which this work has been assigned.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.399 no.847, reproduced.
Shanes 1997, pp.27, 96, 105.
Ibid., p.27.
Blank (laid down and not examined).

Matthew Imms
March 2013

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