Joseph Mallord William Turner

East Gate, Winchelsea, Sussex


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 182 × 254 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXVIII M

Catalogue entry

Etching and mezzotint by Turner and S.W. Reynolds, ‘EAST GATE WINCHELSEA Sussex’, published Turner, 1 January 1819
The second of Turner’s Winchelsea drawings to be engraved for the Liber Studiorum, the present work was probably intended as a pair with the first, Winchelsea, Sussex, published nearly seven years earlier (for the drawing and general discussion of the site, see Tate D08145; Turner Bequest CXVII Q); the designs were probably made at about the same time.1 The present design is derived from a tonal pencil and chalk drawing on prepared paper in the Sussex sketchbook of about 1804–6 (Tate D05763; Turner Bequest XCII 44); another sketch in the same book was used for Winchelsea, Sussex. Stopford Brooke described the relationship of the two Liber compositions; in the first, showing only the tower, ‘we have passed through the gate and stand at the top of the hill leading downwards onto the plain. The same flock of sheep ... is seen’.2 Another drawing in the book (Tate D05722; Turner Bequest XCII 4) may show the tower and gate in the distance.
Despite the published title of the design, Turner appears to show the Pipewell or Land Gate on the north side of the town, rather than the more impressive Strand Gate guarding the east side (with its arch flanked by round towers and neighbouring houses). In his later watercolour Winchelsea, Sussex, Soldiers on the March of circa 1828 (British Museum, London, 1958–7–12–429),3 Turner seems, in a deliberate echo, to show the same tower and gate as in the present Liber composition, but from the foot of the hill on the far side outside the town; he had visited Winchelsea around the mid-1810s and made more detailed, clearly differentiated drawings of each gate – he showed the more easterly, Strand Gate elevation of the town in Winchelsea, Sussex, and the Military Canal of about 1817 (private collection),4 with what is probably the tower in both Liber compositions in the distance on the right (i.e. to the north), based on a two-part panoramic study in the Hastings to Margate sketchbook (Tate D10517; Turner Bequest CXL 55 – see also closer view of the road rising to the Strand Gate, D10519; CXL 56a, and studies of the gate itself, D10527 and D10529; CXL 60a, 61a).
Forrester 1996, pp.103, 129.
Brooke 1885, p.[137].
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.396 no.821, reproduced.
Ibid., p.348 no.430; Eric Shanes, Turner’s Rivers, Harbours and Coasts, London 1981, p.20 no.12, pl.12 (colour).
Cook and Wedderburn VII 1903, pp.433, 434.
Ibid., XIII 1904, p.121.
Brooke 1885, p.231.
Forrester 1996, pp.161–3 (transcribed).
Ibid., p.163 (transcribed).
Ibid., p.160 (transcribed).
Rawlinson 1878, pp.135–41; 1906, pp.159–66; Finberg 1924, pp.265–84.
Joyce Townsend, circa 1995, Tate conservation files.

Matthew Imms
August 2009

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