Joseph Mallord William Turner

Groups of Figures by the Sea, Perhaps at Margate


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 89 × 113 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXLI 38 a

Catalogue entry

With the page turned horizontally, Turner has made two rapid sketches of groupings of figures, apparently at leisure on or overlooking a beach. There seem to be women and children1 among them, and perhaps a dog at the top right. Not everyone is unoccupied, as there is a note of a catch of fish being cleaned at the bottom right. There are related studies on folio 39 recto opposite (D22506), with a similar note. For other studies definitely or perhaps made at Margate in this sketchbook, see the Introduction.
The significance of the note of a figure and specific date, inscribed independently of the drawings, is unclear, but is presumably financial. Assuming it was written on or around the date mentioned, it is among the very few clues to the dating of the sketchbook; see the Introduction.

Matthew Imms
May 2014

See Chumbley and Warrell 1989, p.42, and Forrester 1996, p.80.

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