Joseph Mallord William Turner

Fishing Boats

c.1802

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Chalk on paper
Dimensions
Support: 271 x 436 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D05048
Turner Bequest LXXXI 146

Catalogue entry

Made with the page turned horizontally, these fluent pen sketches of boats sailing before a strong wind may have been drawn direct from the motif, though they are more probably invented as potential elements in one of the marine subjects that Turner was developing in this sketchbook. In fact, the right–hand boat appears, only slightly modified, as the central vessel in the painting Calais Pier, with French Poissards Preparing for Sea: An English Packet Arriving, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1803 (National Gallery, London).1
Similar pen drawings of boats appear on folios 73 verso, 75 verso and 76 verso–77 recto (D05046, D05050, D05052–D05053; Turner Bequest LXXXI 144, 148, 150–151).

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

1
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.37–8 no.48, pl.58 (colour).

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