Joseph Mallord William Turner

Houses above the Beach at Deal


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 76 × 98 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLXIII 4

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, this drawing is continued on folio 3 verso opposite (D35762). The view is up from the shore, with houses on Beach Street running northwards.
Deal looks east over the English Channel, on the Kent coast about eight miles north of Dover and the same distance south of Ramsgate. Turner had drawn there in the mid 1810s in the Richmond Hill; Hastings to Margate sketchbook (Tate D10461, D10466, D10580, D10581, D10582; Turner Bequest CXL 27a, 30, 87, 87a, 88), in the early 1820s in the Folkestone sketchbook (Tate D17244; Turner Bequest CXCVIII 22a), and in the 1825 Holland sketchbook (Tate D19382–D19391; Turner Bequest CCXIV 273–278).
A subsequent watercolour view looking upwards from just off shore, Deal, Kent (Deal Town Council),1 was engraved in 1826 for the ongoing Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England (Tate impressions: T04422, T05236, T05237, T05998); a related colour study is Tate D25410 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 287). Another watercolour of about 1826, Deal (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool),2 shows a distant view from the sea and was engraved in 1828 for the Ports of England, but not published until 1856 among the Harbours of England. Two decidedly less topographical late oil paintings are also associated with the town: Off Deal (Nationalmuseum, Stockholm)3 and A Sailing Boat off Deal (National Museum Wales, Cardiff).4
There are other views of Deal in the present book on the verso and folio 5 recto (D35764–D35765) and on 34 recto (D35818; Turner Bequest CCCLXIII 33); see also the shipping studies on folios 9 verso and 11 recto (D35774, D35777). Folio 21 recto D35795 (Turner Bequest CCCLXIII 20) may show nearby Walmer Castle.
The jumble of small buildings and Dutch-style stepped gables in the present view recall the 1825 sketches and the Southern Coast watercolour, although the structures shown do not appear to have survived.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.355 no.481.
Ibid., p388 no.758, reproduced.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.293 no.483, pl.484.
Ibid. pp.293–4 no.484, pl.485 (colour).

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