Joseph Mallord William Turner

Coastal Terrain

after 1825

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour and gouache on paper
Support: 192 × 273 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 224

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These watercolours share a common palette of grey, black, blue and olive-green backgrounds interspersed with fluid bands of pink, yellow or blue. Turner may have painted the sheets one after the other, using the same few colours ready mixed on his palette.

Working in this way freed Turner from the conventions of watercolour painting and enabled him to experiment with new methods. In On the Sea Shore he seems to have created dots of colour by flicking a brush loaded with paint against the paper.

Gallery label, July 2008

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Catalogue entry

This is one of a large number of sketches on loose sheets of paper depicting coastal terrain and seagoing vessels in various combinations. For the grouping and dating of these works to the middle and later periods of Turner’s career, see the section introduction. This sheet was cut from a much larger sheet, some of the other sections of which Turner specialist Eric Shanes has located in the Turner Bequest.1 These are: Tate D25347, D25348, D25395 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 225, 226, 272). Each section bears a different fragment of the watermark reading ‘T EDMONDS’, ‘1825’, and ‘NOT BLEACHED’.
Eric Shanes, Turner’s Watercolour Explorations 1810–1842, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997, p.40.
Pencil notes reading ‘AB2180PO’ and ‘CCLXIII | 224’. Small patches of blue across the sheet.

John Chu
June 2015

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