Joseph Mallord William Turner

Coast of Kent; and Ships Sailing


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 111 × 181 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXVIII 62 a

Catalogue entry

This sketch of the coast from the sea near the page gutter continues a series of coastal sketches on the reverse of this page: folio 62 (D26215). It has been suggested that those sketches depict the coast of Kent near Broadstairs and Ramsgate, and the recurrence here of what looks like a church tower and a lighthouse suggests that this is a sketch of the same town, but from further down the coast. Turner’s note above the sketch could possibly be read as ‘Hyth’, though it is perhaps unlikely that he continued on travelling as far round the coast as Hythe.
With the sketchbook inverted are two studies of sailing boats. The larger sketch across the centre of the page is a spirited study of boats in a strong wind. Shading to the left of the vessels suggests a dark, stormy sky; the wind has whipped up the waves, the puffy clouds between the boats and the sails of both vessels. At the top right of the page the small boxed-off sketch again shows the effects of the wind, this time filling the flapping sails of the boats that appear to be arriving at or preparing to leave harbour. There are further studies of boats at sea on folios 20 and 61 verso (D26132, D26214).

Thomas Ardill
January 2011

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