Joseph Mallord William Turner

?East Wear Bay, Folkestone


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCVIII 33 a

Catalogue entry

This page is dominated by a sketch which positions a small, darkly shaded figure before a towering coastal cliff face with a path zigzagging up it.1 By positioning a figure in the centre of this drawing, Turner underlines the power and size of the jagged coastal forms that rise up around it. Man is very much portrayed as overwhelmed by nature.
Eric Shanes draws a parallel between a smaller drawing on the present page and the cliffs portrayed by Turner in the watercolour and pencil Cliffs near Dieppe probably made around 1826–7 (Tate D25425; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 302).2 Positioned in the top right corner of the sheet, this second drawing captures another view of coastal cliffs and shares topographic traits with the later watercolour. Both demonstrate sharp deviations in the height and depth of the cliffs, resulting in a coastline punctuated with deep pockets, particularly towards the left in both cases. Although the watercolour has so far been identified as a French scene, Shanes suggests that it might be a view at East Wear Bay in Folkestone, along with the present sketch.3
Finberg 1909, I, p.605.
Shanes 1997, p.94 appendix I under ‘Cliffs’.
Technical notes:
Two thumb prints mark the bottom edge of this page. Towards top right, a dark mark made on the surface of the recto (Tate D17262) shows through to this side of the paper.

Maud Whatley
January 2016

Read full Catalogue entry


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