The view is to the north-west from Margate’s Great Beach, with a group of figures who are presumably waiting to embark on the steamer from London which is about to arrive at Jarvis’s Landing Place. Nearby are a rider on a white horse, and a two-wheeled vehicle pulled by a black horse. For more on the Margate setting, see the Introduction to this subsection.
Writing in 1999, paper conservator Peter Bower has described the sheet: ‘Lightweight bright blue wove paper, probably machine made, laid down onto a later cream wove paper’. 1 He has discussed the Victorian vogue for ‘to our eyes quite garish’ coloured papers, in albums (such as Turner’s multicoloured Marine Dabblers ‘sketchbook’ in the present section: Tate; Turner Bequest CCXLI), the strong hue in this case being ‘typical ... particularly [of] those of French manufacture’. The piece ‘appears to have been part of a much larger sheet, not found elsewhere in the Turner Bequest. Some details of the wire profile seen under high magnification would suggest that it may well be machine made’.2
Bower also noted that the ‘combination of an extremely lightweight flimsy paper and the black and white chalk has led someone to lay the sheet down onto a heavier off-white wove paper [since removed] to protect it’. As he observed: ‘It is unlikely that Turner himself would have mounted this work’, and the backing paper bore a ‘similarity to the 1850s machine made woves used to mount up several of the papers in the Bequest’,3 suggesting that they were treated in this way soon after the Turner Bequest was deposited at the National Gallery.
The velvety surface of the paper appears rubbed and darkened. Compare the deep blue of another Margate sheet (Tate D34326; Turner Bequest CCCXLIII 26), as against the more typical lighter blue-grey of some of the other sheets works in this subsection.
Blank; an adventitious brown spot has soaked through the paper from this side and is evident below the steamer on the recto.