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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour and graphite on paper
Support: 352 × 518 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 44

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This watercolour may be a view of Margate, as the pencil lines seem to suggest the town's cliffs and headland, and the letter 'M' is inscribed at the top of the sheet. It is an example of Turner's 'colour beginnings': sketches he made to work out compositions and to experiment with different ways of using watercolour. Turner often painted Margate, and said that the loveliest skies are 'in the Isle of Thanet'. The engravings of Margate shown here were made after the finished watercolour, which is now at the Yale Centre for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.

Gallery label, September 2004

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