Joseph Mallord William Turner

Shipping Including the ‘Victory’ off the Portsmouth Dockyard Semaphore Tower

1844

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 74 x 116 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D35753
Turner Bequest CCCLXII 36

Catalogue entry

Like the other rapid sketches in this book, this relates to the arrival of Louis-Philippe, King of the French, at Portsmouth Harbour on 8 October 1844, as discussed in the Introductions to the sketchbook and the overall section. Ian Warrell has noted that the scene includes the Portsmouth Dockyard Semaphore tower, as well as HMS Victory,1 which Turner had last drawn in the 1827 Isle of Wight sketchbook (Tate D20766; Turner Bequest CCXXVII 22); he had first encountered her on her return from Trafalgar in 1805 (see ‘Marine Subjects c.1803–14’ in the present catalogue).
The 1845 painting The Arrival of the His Majesty the King of the French (Southampton City Art Gallery), by John Christian Schetky (1778–1874), shows the Victory firing a salute near the tower in the distance.2 Compare detailed studies of the building, perhaps from the summer of 1824, in the London Bridge and Portsmouth sketchbook (Tate D17941; Turner Bequest CCVI 15).

Matthew Imms
September 2016

1
See Warrell 2013, p.10.
2
See ibid., p.11 fig.3 (colour).

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