Joseph Mallord William Turner


after 1825

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour, graphite and gouache on paper
Support: 190 × 273 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 226

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These watercolours share a common palette of grey, black, blue and olive-green backgrounds interspersed with fluid bands of pink, yellow or blue. Turner may have painted the sheets one after the other, using the same few colours ready mixed on his palette.

Working in this way freed Turner from the conventions of watercolour painting and enabled him to experiment with new methods. In On the Sea Shore he seems to have created dots of colour by flicking a brush loaded with paint against the paper.

Gallery label, July 2008

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Catalogue entry

This is one of a large number of sketches on loose sheets of paper depicting coastal terrain and seagoing vessels in various combinations. For the grouping and dating of these works to the middle and later periods of Turner’s career, see the section introduction. This sheet was cut from a much larger sheet, some of the other sections of which Turner specialist Eric Shanes has located in the Turner Bequest.1 These are: Tate D25346, D25347, D25395 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 224, 225, 272). Each section bears a different fragment of the watermark reading ‘T EDMONDS’, ‘1825’, and ‘NOT BLEACHED’. To these four sheets, paper expert Peter Bower added Tate D25396–D25398 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 273–275).2
Eric Shanes, Turner’s Watercolour Explorations 1810–1842, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997, p.40.
Peter Bower, Turner’s Later Papers: A Study of the Manufacture, Selection and Use of his Drawing Papers 1820–1851, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.85
Pencil note reading ‘AB218PO’.

John Chu
June 2015

Read full Catalogue entry


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