Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sea and Sky


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 171 × 239 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 281

Technique and condition

Watercolour sketch on a cream, wove paper. There is some discolouration overall, but in general the support is in fair condition. The watercolour depicts a seascape with a rough sea in the foreground made up of loose, feathery brushstokes, ranging to thinner washes and applications of colour in the background. The media appears to be in sound condition but slight darkening of the support overall may have lead to changes in the balance of the composition. The black watercolour has a grainy, cloudy appearance suggesting that some starch has been added by the artist.

Katharine Lockett
September 2003

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. Turner specialist Gerald Wilkinson has noted that this sheet was cut from a larger sheet, another section of which formed the support of Tate D25405 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 281).1
Gerald Wilkinson, Turner’s Colour Sketches 1820–34, London 1975, pp.124, 125.
Pencil notes reading ‘68a’, ‘cclxiii’, ‘D25404’. Stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram and ‘CCLXIII – 281’.

John Chu
June 2015

Read full Catalogue entry


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