Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sailing Boats in Swanage Bay


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 170 × 209 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXIV 13

Catalogue entry

The boats are seen against Ballard Down and Old Harry Rocks in the distance to the north-east across Swanage Bay, from the harbour at Swanage at about the point where the entrance to the Victorian pier is now, east of the original stone pier and in line with Turner’s view from the hill above the bay on folio 12 recto (D08819). There are also a more distant view of the bay and Ballard Down on folio 11 recto (D08818), and views of the harbour shoreline on folio 14 recto (D08821) and of the harbour and town on 15 verso (D08822).
William Daniell’s 1823 aquatint of Swanage from his Voyage Round Great Britain shows the bay from a similar angle, with the foreshore towards Peveril Point, but gives no sense of the considerable distance to Ballard Down (about two miles), creating an oddly fjord-like effect (Tate impression: T02980).
Technical notes:
There is a prominent vertical crease running the whole height of the sheet towards the right.
Blank save for inscriptions by John Ruskin in red ink ‘644’ and (upside down) ‘36 | p.36’ bottom left.

Matthew Imms
February 2011

Read full Catalogue entry

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