Joseph Mallord William Turner

Dover from Shakespeare Cliff

c.1816–19

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 155 x 95 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D10473
Turner Bequest CXL 33 a

Catalogue entry

This outline sketch looking from Shakespeare Cliff towards Dover and the castle beyond is perhaps the first hint of the watercolour (currently untraced)1 engraved by George Cooke in 1826 for Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England. However, there is a similar view in the later Holland sketchbook (Tate D18843; Turner Bequest CCXIV 2) which may have served more directly. Turner is positioned near the defences on the Western Heights, strengthened during the Napoleonic War to protect the harbour. Left of centre is the wooden bridge from the cliff path across a moat to the gun emplacements, which Turner brought to the fore in the watercolour.

David Blayney Brown
July 2011

1
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, p.355 no.483.

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