Joseph Mallord William Turner

Design for a Sea-Piece, Related to ‘Entrance of the Meuse’


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Support: 111 × 185 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLIII 90 a

Catalogue entry

This sketch is one of three in this sketchbook (with Tate D12047, D12096; Turner Bequest CLIII 41, 89a) rehearsing ideas for a sea-piece that materialised in the large painting Entrance of the Meuse: Orange-Merchant on the Bar, Going to Pieces; Brill Church Bearing S.E. by S., Masensluys E. by S. (Tate N00501)1 exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1819. In this sketch the position of the heeling ship approaches the final composition quite closely, while the foreground elements vary. Turner appears to have turned the sketchbook around, and made this drawing and that on the adjacent page (D12096) starting again from the back.
See notes to D12047 for the possibility that Turner began planning this subject at Farnley Hall in the autumn of 1818, perhaps as a companion to his Dutch river subject, Dort, or Dordrecht, the Dort Packet-Boat from Rotterdam Becalmed (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut),2 exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1818, acquired by Walter Fawkes and newly installed over the chimneypiece in the drawing room at Farnley.3 Entrance to the Meuse is a similar size to the Dort, but in the event remained with Turner. One of these pictures could be the subject of a note about framing inside the front cover of the present sketchbook (D40716).
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.105–6 no.139 (pl.143).
Ibid., pp.102–4 pp.102–4 no.137 (pl.140).
See the watercolour, Drawing Room at Farnley Hall (private collection); Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, p.368 no.592.

David Hill
June 2009

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