Joseph Mallord William Turner

Gosport and Portsmouth from the Sea


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 100 × 160 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCVI 6 a

Catalogue entry

This view, continuing a little way across folio 7 recto opposite (D17925), is to the north from Spithead, out at sea, with the blockhouse at Gosport towards the left, the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth to the right, with what is probably the clock tower of the Vulcan Block and the tower at Baltic Wharf; the Square Tower semaphore station and Portsmouth Cathedral are on the other page. Compare the view on folio 5 verso (D17922).
This is one of a continuous series of views around Portsmouth between folios 1 recto and 20 recto (D17913–D17951); many appear to have been made from a boat; for the overall sequence and details of the most prominent buildings and defences, see the Introduction. This page has been linked1 to the watercolours Portsmouth of about 1824 (Lady Lever Art Galley, Port Sunlight),2 engraved in 1825 for Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England (Tate impressions: T04419, T05302–T05304, T05994), and Portsmouth of about 1824–5 (Tate D18152; Turner Bequest CCVIII S),3 engraved in 1828 for The Ports of England, and reissued in 1856 in The Harbours of England (Tate impressions: T04833, T04834). The overall view can be compared with both designs, although the Portsmouth buildings are shown in different juxtapositions.
Finberg compared the sailing boat on the left to one in the watercolour Ports of England design Sheerness (Tate D18153; Turner Bequest CCVIII T);4 they are similar, and there may be a connection given that the Portsmouth and Sheerness subjects were contemporary, although it cannot be proven absolutely.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

See Shanes 1981, p.153.
Wilton 1979, p.354 no.477, reproduced.
Ibid., p.387 no.756, reproduced.
See Finberg 1909, I, p.624; see also Clark, Davidson and Gage 1964, p.32, and Shanes 1981, p.153.

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