Joseph Mallord William Turner

Folkestone Beach


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 230 × 328 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLVI 19

Catalogue entry

This pencil and watercolour drawing depicts a Folkestone beach and a steamer at sea. Rough pencil jottings beneath yellow wash suggest foreground incident, perhaps figures or small boats. The form of a rocky cliff is rendered in diluted red pigment, used in conjunction with pale blue to suggest the continuation of the coastline into the distance. A pencil outline of further coastline extends far into the sea. Turner has rendered the sea with graded blue wash, at points dropping in colour and allowing it to bleed and feather. Perhaps the most striking feature of the drawing is the trail of vibrantly coloured steam from a packet at sea dispersing into cloud. Blue and red wash has been applied in swift curved strokes and daubs of the brush, the pigments merging and feathering into each other to form interesting tonal gradations. Turner has inscribed ‘Fo’ in pencil at the bottom right, presumably shorthand for Folkestone. For other works featuring steamboats in this sketchbook see folios 2, 3, 22 recto (D35363, D35364, D35384).

Alice Rylance-Watson
February 2013

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