Joseph Mallord William Turner

Groups of Ships, and a View at Queenborough


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 112 × 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCIX 6

Catalogue entry

With two of the drawings continuing from the facing page on folio 5 verso (D17374), this sheet is the right hand portion of a double-page rendering of groups of sailing vessels, as identified by Finberg.1
The prospect at top left displays a small section of land emerging from the gutter. This descends quickly into the water, which is populated by vessels. Their masts stand up straight towards the blank sky.
Immediately below this is a sketch continued from the facing page. This appears to be a more proximate view of the prospect described above, as the shape of a broad building with a central tower seems closer and more distinctively described, visible at the very centre of this section of the composition. To the right, a large vessel dominates the scene, possibly a man of war or collier brig.
Further down the page is the second sketch to continue from the facing sheet. Immediately adjacent with the gutter are a small windmill and neighbouring church. This arrangement of buildings is observed on several occasions in the present sketchbook, the drawings of which can be found on folios 5 verso, 8 recto, 85 verso, and 86 verso (D17274, D17378, D17497, D17499). The scene seems to show Queenborough on the River Swale, with Holy Trinity Church marked out against the sky, observed from a southern viewpoint. Other, undefined, buildings stretch out along the shore until three vessels floating closer to Turner’s position come into view near the centre of the page.
Finberg 1909, I, p.607.
Technical notes:
A small tear marks the top of this sheet, towards far left. The edges have been bonded together, presumably using glue.
A fine sliver of topography relating to a drawing on the facing page, folio 7 recto (D17376), is recorded on this sheet towards bottom right, emerging from the gutter.
Partial watermark ‘R Bar | 18’

Maud Whatley
January 2016

Read full Catalogue entry

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