Joseph Mallord William Turner

Deal, Kent


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 189 × 230 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 287

Catalogue entry

From the ‘size and colouring of this watercolour, plus its general distribution of masses’, Eric Shanes has linked this ‘colour beginning’ to the watercolour Deal, Kent of about 1825 (Deal Town Council),1 which was engraved in 1826 (Tate impressions: T04422, T05236–T05237, T05998) for the Southern Coast project2 (see the Introduction to this section). Shanes continues:
the distribution of warm and cool colours is very similar ... a thin watercolour stroke at the right perhaps indicates the sinking vessel that is placed on the right of the Southern Coast composition; some vertical strokes in the middle might stand for the flagpoles ... and five bold diagonal strokes on the left surely indicate the Deal luggers that are being run down the beach in the final drawing.3
The composition is based on various pencil sketches looking north along the beach in the
1825 Holland sketchbook, including Tate D19383 and D19387 (Tate CCXIV 274, 276). Other works in the present section linked less directly with the Southern Coast watercolour are Tate D25426, D25437 and D36117 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 303, 314, CCCLXIV 270), while Tate D25477 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 354) may represent an idea for a composition including nearby Walmer Castle.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.355 no.481.
Shanes 1997, p.61; see also p.102.
Ibid., p.61.
Technical notes:
The bright sky between the clouds and waves has been left as blank paper to maximise the contrast. Eric Shanes has drawn stylistic parallels between this study and numerous other ‘colour beginnings’ of coastal subjects (Tate D25365, D25383, D25393, D25422, D25426, D25437, D25477, D36117; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 243, 260, 270, 299, 303, 314, 354, CCCLXIV 270), even suggesting they ‘may have been created during the same session of work’; he notes that of these the present work and Tate D25393 and D25477, as well as Tate D25370 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 248) are on similar ‘half-sheets of writing paper that were folded together after being torn into those halves, the folds still being visible’,1 as seen down the centre here.
Although Tate D25477 is watermarked 1822 and noted by Shanes as such, he suggests without further comment that the present sheet was part of an initial larger piece watermarked 1824.2 Paper conservator Peter Bower has analysed D25477 in more detail, describing it as of ‘very good quality lightweight writing paper ... typical of the notepapers available ... sold folded, in quires of twenty-four sheets at a time’, the format being ‘Post Quarto folded to Post Octavo’.3 He identifies the maker as William Weatherley, of Chartham Mill, Chartham, near Canterbury in Kent,4 and notes: ‘Three other sheets in the Bequest are also on the same paper, possibly originally making up the four quarters of the whole sheet’ these being Tate D25370, D25393 and D25477,5 as previously listed by Shanes.
Ibid., under no.43.
Ibid., pp.61, 94, 100.
Peter Bower, Turner’s Later Papers: A Study of the Manufacture, Selection and Use of his Drawing Papers 1820–1851, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.42.
See ibid.
Ibid., and p.43 note 1.
Ibid., p.43.

Matthew Imms
July 2016

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