Joseph Mallord William Turner

Margate Harbour, with Shipping


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 75

Catalogue entry

With the page turned horizontally, there are two similar studies here of Margate, dominated by the tower of Holy Trinity Church. The latter was consecrated in 1829 and bombed in 1943; its tower was demolished in 1958,1 but provides a useful clue here for the dating of the sketchbook (see the Introduction). The juxtaposition of the tower and the slender lighthouse at the end of the pier beyond the shipping indicates that Turner was looking east from a little way out to sea off the beach. The various notes are difficult to make out, perhaps owing to the motion of the boat.
The watercolour Margate from the Sea, Whiting Fishing of 1822 (private collection),2 engraved in 1825 as Sun-Rise. Whiting Fishing at Margate for Turner’s Marine Views (Tate impression: T06655), had shown the town from a similar angle, a few years before before the church was built. Compare the slighter sketch on folio 78 recto (D22552). For other possible views of Margate, see the Introduction.
See ‘Margate, Holy Trinity Old Church’, Church Bells of Kent, accessed 14 May 2014,
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.358 no.507.

Matthew Imms
May 2014

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