Joseph Mallord William Turner

Line of Cliffs at Folkestone


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCVIII 32

Catalogue entry

As identified by Eric Shanes, the topmost drawing on this page describes a line of cliffs between Folkestone and Dover that Turner depicted several times in this sketchbook and also used as the topographical basis for the watercolour Coast from Folkestone Harbour to Dover (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut),1 engraved by J. Horsburgh in 1831 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales series (Tate impression T04571).2 The prospect is punctuated by a Martello tower. For a list of the works which Shanes has ascertained comprise this group of preliminary drawings, see the entry for folio 30 verso (D17258). For a brief history of the Martello towers and a list of the pages in the present sketchbook which describe the coastal fortifications, see the entry for folio 5 verso (D17215).
A second panoramic study made on the lower half of the page also describes a coastal view, and describes a distant town towards the right which could be Dover, although it is difficult to identify with certainty. Two largely ambiguous tall rectangles stand side by side in the foreground, perhaps denoting the sails of maritime vessels.
For a full list of Folkestone studies in this book, see the entry for folio 17 verso (D17235). For the town’s presence in the artist’s oeuvre more broadly, refer to the sketchbook Introduction.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.396 no.826, reproduced.
Shanes 1979, p.156.

Maud Whatley
January 2016

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