Joseph Mallord William Turner

Shipping, Perhaps off Cowes


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Chalk and graphite on paper
Support: 143 × 194 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLX 129

Catalogue entry

This is among dozens of blue paper studies presumably made in connection with the Cowes Regatta events in the late summer of 1827; see the Introduction to this subsection for other generic harbour and coastal scenes. There are no landmarks, but the setting may be the mouth of the River Medina and the Solent off Cowes, with yachts passing larger vessels; compare the three-master towards the right with the warship moored in the distance of the painting East Cowes Castle, the Seat of J. Nash, Esq.; the Regatta Beating to Windward, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1828 (Indianapolis Museum of Art).1
Like several others in the present subsection this drawing was categorised in Finberg’s 1909 inventory in one of the sections of works on blue paper ‘mostly connected with “French Rivers”’.2
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.150 no.242, pl.246 (colour).
See Finberg 1909, II, pp.806–13, CCLX, ‘Pencil and ink on blue paper: mostly connected with “French Rivers” series’, c.1830; see also Warrell 1999, pp.31, 254 note 87, linking this sheet to the Isle of Wight.
Technical notes:
The centre of the sheet is somewhat faded from prolonged exposure while formerly on display. Ironically, Ian Warrell has listed it among works ‘not listed in the 1869 National Gallery Report [in relation to the loan collections], but ... associated with the Third Loan Collection by Finberg in individual Inventory notes. These works were probably introduced ... between 1904 and 1909 when a number of the sketches were withdrawn due to overexposure’.1
Warrell 1991, p.49.
Inscribed ?by John Ruskin in red ink ‘[...?59]’ bottom left; inscribed in pencil ‘CCLX – 129’ bottom centre.

Matthew Imms
November 2015

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