Joseph Mallord William Turner

Shipping, Probably on the River Medina, with East Cowes Castle or St Mary’s Church, Cowes, Beyond


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 142 × 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXIV 114

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. Like the equally slight Tate D20384 (Turner Bequest CCXXIV 88), it possibly features East Cowes Castle on the skyline, looking east from the River Medina, or the tower of St Mary’s Church, Cowes, looking west.
The present sheet is among a handful now identified as Isle of Wight-related subjects which had been categorised in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory in a large section of blue paper ‘Meuse-Moselle’ subjects of about 1826,1 albeit some of which ‘may belong to the “Rivers of France” series, or even to the Italian tour of 1828’;2 it was among many ‘done up in four parcels’ variously labelled by John Ruskin as ‘Scrawls’ and ‘Rubbish’.3
See Finberg 1909, II, pp.692–4, CCXXIV 1–240, ‘Black and white sketches on blue connected with the Meuse-Moselle tour’.
Ibid., p.692.
Ibid., p.693, CCXXIV 35–167; ‘Most of them represent ruined castle on rocks. Among them are probably sketches of ... castles on the Moselle, but I am unable to identify any of them with certainty; among them may be sketches not of the Meuse-Moselle Tour’, with full transcriptions of Ruskin’s numbered labels.
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘52 | O’ bottom right, signifying that the sheet was once in one of Ruskin’s four numbered parcels noted above, in this case of ‘Chalk on grey. Scrawls’.1

Matthew Imms
November 2015

See ibid.

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