Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ships’ Boats Victualling


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 115 x 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XCIX 22

Catalogue entry

This is another scene of victualling, presumably drawn at the Navy yard at Deptford; see note to folio 21 of the sketchbook (D06378; Turner Bequest XCIX 18). Here, Turner notes the provisions going out to the ships.
Finberg’s description in Sketches and Drawings cannot be bettered: ‘Round the landing-stages in the foreground are the ships’ boats taking in stores of bread, hay and straw, sheep and fish. The day is fine, but there is evidently a wind blowing; the sea is choppy; there is plenty of spray about, and the pennants stand out taut from the masts of the big ships in the offing. It is all drawn with a few hurried, nervous pencil outlines, nothing is described in detail, yet the whole scene is brought as vividly before us as the most elaborate oil-painting could bring it.’

David Blayney Brown
March 2009

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