Joseph Mallord William Turner

Cliffs, near Folkestone


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCVIII 52 a

Catalogue entry

Made with the page inverted according to the foliation of the sketchbook, this coastal scene appears to have been observed from a viewpoint close to the coastal town of Folkestone.1 Presumably part of Finberg’s basis for this identification is the silhouette of a church in the centre on the horizon. This is likely to be St Mary andSt Eanswythe, the main parish church in Folkestone. For more studies of this church in the present sketchbook, and of Folkestone more generally, see the lists included within the entry for folio 17 verso (D17235).
The coastline itself is rocky, with a steep drop down the cliff-face demonstrated with efficient, curved lines which pour over the edge. At bottom left, craggy lines extend out into the blank space of the sea, indicating banks of treacherous rocks. A long headland in the distance extends almost as far as the gutter on the left. For an indication of Folkestone’s prevalence in Turner’s oeuvre more generally, refer to the sketchbook Introduction.

Maud Whatley
January 2016

Finberg 1909, I, p.605.

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