Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ships on the River Medway at Chatham

c.1821

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 112 × 190 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17389
Turner Bequest CXCIX 15

Catalogue entry

Across this and the facing page on folio 14 verso (D17388) Turner makes a detailed sketch of a section of Chatham Dockyard on the River Medway. Ship building sheds are visible along the harbour at centre, and large vessels populate the water in the foreground. The sterns of three ships of the line are delineated with particular care in the middle of the page. The gallery windows are meticulously recorded in each case, as well as any decorative workmanship applied to the timber above. Further back, Turner conjures a forest of masts and patchwork of lightly hatched hulls. The distance comprises a slice of blank topography, elaborated with foliage at far left before the prospect crosses the gutter. At far left, the architecture of Chatham begins to make an appearance.
Turner makes a great number of studies at Chatham in this sketchbook. A comprehensive list can be found in the entry for folio 22 recto (D17402).
Verso:
Blank

Maud Whatley
January 2016

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