Joseph Mallord William Turner

Folkestone from the Sea


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 465 × 658 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 357

Display caption

Smuggling in Folkestone is again the subject for this preparatory study for a more finished, detailed watercolour, Folkestone from the Sea, 1823-4. In the foreground a boat laden with people and barrels is ploughing through the water. One man is gesturing behind him, alarmed that their illicit operations are about to be discovered.

Gallery label, July 2008

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Catalogue entry

This is a much less developed variant of the elaborately worked but slightly unfinished watercolour of about 1823–4, Folkestone from the Sea (Tate D18158; Turner Bequest CCVIII Y),1 which depicts a smuggling subject associated with the Marine Views print project (see the Introduction to this section), as described in its catalogue entry. In the present version there is more emphasis on the dramatic gesture of one of the boat’s crew,2 pointing out the approach of a Coastal Blockade sailing vessel, indicated against the cliffs to the right by slight outlines of pale ochre colour.
In 1978, the present work and D18158 were among four Folkestone views from the Turner Bequest reproduced in a limited edition of 500 facsimiles by Robert Brown and Martin Gill of London Collotype Editions, employing ten colour separations.3
See Wilton 1975, p.60, Wilton 1979, p.358, Shanes 1981, p.33, Shanes 1990, p.121, Shanes 1997, pp.28, 99, and Shanes 2000, p.155.
See Shanes 1981, p.33, Shanes 1990, p.121, and Warrell 1991, p.30.
See Weil 1978, pp.4–5.
Blank; laid down on sheet of white wove paper, stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram below ‘CCLXIII – 357’ below left of centre.

Matthew Imms
July 2016

Read full Catalogue entry


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