Joseph Mallord William Turner

Children Playing on the Seashore with a Steamer and Pier Beyond, Perhaps at Margate

c.1830

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 76 × 98 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D35760
Turner Bequest CCCLXIII 2

Catalogue entry

The slight study on the upper half of the page shows figures, apparently comprising or including children, on a beach with their small model boat among the breakers and a steamer near a pier beyond to the right. Within the bottom right of this composition is a thumbnail sketch, framed by pencil lines; it includes buildings, figures and possibly a harbour beyond. This may be Margate; see under folio 10 verso (D35776).
As Mordechai Omer has noted, ‘The lost vessel’ may indicate not just a mishap with a toy, but a metaphor for the disappointments and trials of life;1 for further comment see under the scene of ‘Marine Dabblers’ in the contemporary sketchbook of that name (Tate D22514; Turner Bequest CCXLI 46a) and the earlier Liber Studiorum subject it recalls (Tate D08133; Turner Bequest CXVII F).
1
See Omer 1975, p.701.
Verso:
Blank

Matthew Imms
September 2016

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