Joseph Mallord William Turner

Dover Harbour, from the East

c.1821–2

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 113 × 187 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17329
Turner Bequest CXCVIII 71 a

Catalogue entry

As suggested by Finberg, across this and the facing page on folio 72 recto (D17330), Turner makes a study of Dover harbour viewed from the eastern shoreline.1 At centre, the distinctive shape of Shakespeare Cliff stands out against the descending hillside. There are several studies of this cliff in the present sketchbook. For a list of these and more detailed information about its history and name, see the entry for folio 38 verso (D17272).
The view describes several features also evidenced in an eighteenth century glass slide produced by Samuel and Nathanial Buck, Dover Harbour of 1738 (Dover Museum). Although offering a more elevated perspective, the slide also situates Shakespeare Cliff at far left, offering a point of reference by which to compare Turner’s sketch on the current page. The latter carefully delineates the harbour architecture in detail, using a sharp pencil to achieve a precise result.
The facing page is concerned with the looming cliffs in the immediate foreground, on the eastern side of the bay.
Further studies of Dover harbour and the surrounding topography in the present sketchbook can be found on folios 38 verso, 45 verso–46 recto, 48 recto, 68 verso, and 71 verso–72 recto (D17272, D17282–D17283, D17287, D17323, D17329–D17330). For information about drawings specifically of the Castle, see the entry for folio 24 recto (D17247). The connection between these studies and Turner’s oeuvre more broadly, as ascertained by various scholars, is outlined in the sketchbook Introduction.

Maud Whatley
January 2016

1
Finberg 1909, I, p.606.

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