Joseph Mallord William Turner



In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCVIII 57 a

Catalogue entry

Made with the page inverted according to foliation, here Turner describes three or four views of Sandgate in Kent, including producing a distinctive drawing of the castle on the shore.1 The handling of all three sketches is detailed. Using a sharp pencil, the artist delineates a textured hive of roofing and chimney pots, punctuated with the masts of fishing boats on the beach.
The top sketch is perhaps the most comprehensive and fully realised. It runs across three quarters of the width of the page, beginning at the gutter on the far left. In the foreground, at the centre of the sheet, Turner situates his impression of Sandgate Castle with its central tower and encircling wall. This defensive structure is explored on various pages throughout the sketchbook, as listed in the entry for folio 16 verso (D17233). See the entry for that page for more detailed information about the history of the building. Two Martello towers in the background also survey this scene from vantage points on the elevated cliffs above. One of is situated on the far left, the other towards the right, and both are rendered with a lighter touch than the other architectural features that make up the composition. For a full list of pages in the present sketchbook which delineate these coastal fortifications in Kent, see the entry for folio 5 verso (D17215). A smattering of marks, each made with a single imprint of the tip of a pencil lead, can also be observed across the middle section of this drawing.
This top view also clearly includes the Episcopal Chapel at Sandgate. Its neoclassical architecture and distinctive cupola are rendered to the immediate left of the castle, hidden slightly by its outmost wall. Consecrated in May 1822, the presence of the Chapel seems to confirm that this sketchbook was still in use during that year. For more information about the history of the structure, now destroyed, see the entry for folio 16 verso (D17233). For a comprehensive list of its appearances here, see the sketchbook Introduction.
Finberg 1909, I, p.605.

Maud Whatley
January 2016

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