Joseph Mallord William Turner

Figures in a Rowing Boat by Steps below a Harbour Wall, Possibly at Cowes


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and graphite on paper
Support: 142 x 193 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXVIII 14

Catalogue entry

This is among dozens of blue paper studies presumably made in connection with the Cowes Regatta events in the late summer of 1827; see the Introduction to this subsection for other generic harbour and coastal scenes. The setting of this substantial harbour wall with steps in the foreground is uncertain, but may be Cowes itself, where the waterfront has since been much redeveloped. The same structures appear to be shown again in a blue paper drawing in ink (Tate D24871; Turner Bequest CCLX 35); see also the Introduction for further possibly related drawings. The figures in the boat may include women in bonnets, probably visitors to Cowes for the racing; compare Tate D20872 (Turner Bequest CCXXVIII 12).
As noted there, the present work and thirty-four other sheets were recorded in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory as unmounted, and ‘formed part of [a] parcel’ labelled by John Ruskin ‘O. 232. Chalk scrawls on grey. Rubbish.’1
Finberg 1909, II, p.702.
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘232 | O’ top left, upside down; inscribed in pencil ‘CCXXVIII . 14’ top left, upside down.

Matthew Imms
November 2015

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