Joseph Mallord William Turner

Clouds over the Sea and a Beach, Perhaps near Ostend

?1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 212 × 275 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D33672
Turner Bequest CCCXL 7

Catalogue entry

Three fluid, assured colour studies in this sketchbook (D33671–D33673; Turner Bequest CCCXL 6, 7, 8) are thematically unrelated to the colour and pencil studies of sites within a concentrated area along the rivers around Passau in south-eastern Germany, from which it takes its current title (see the Introduction), instead perhaps ‘evoking instead the heavy skies of the English Channel’, as Ian Warrell has noted.1 John Ruskin had assessed them as ‘mere effects’.2 See under D33671 for further discussion.
Although the foreground here lacks the stronger yellow suggesting the beach in the other two studies, there is a rhythmic sense of surf breaking on the shore towards the right.
1
Warrell 2014, p.193.
2
Quoted in Finberg 1909, II, p.1064.
Verso:
Blank, save for slight continuations of blue and yellow watercolour at the gutter from D33673 (Turner Bequest CCCXL 8), originally bound opposite. Inscribed in pencil ‘CCCXL 7’ top right; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram over ‘CCCXL – 7’ bottom right.

Matthew Imms
September 2018

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