Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches and Diagrams of Fishing Boats at Dieppe


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXI 31 a

Catalogue entry

The page contains various sketches and diagrams of parts of boats, including sketches of bows and sterns at the top left, and at the right two bird’s-eye view diagrams of the deck. The top one of these has parts labelled: ‘w’ (presumably meaning white), and ‘Balla | or feet B[...]’ (perhaps referring to ballast?). Beneath the diagram is an indecipherable inscription: ?‘Skifting K[...]’. The diagram beneath is labelled ‘hold | [?]common’ at the left, and ‘cable’ at the bottom right with other unidentified inscriptions. The main inscription on the page is as follows:
The Front [or French] fishing Boats are some | of them which are small – are pointed | at the stern – others square. Some are | bluff, like Dutch scufts. The | fore mast upright | main raking | and misen not always used but it always on the | left side of tiller. Some have cradles for the | mast others a cross. [diagrams] small boats | none the f [perhaps meaning foresail] sheets run thro holes on the side, the man far aft | A windlass [sketch of windlass] always near the hatchway. Sometimes lockers | on the side of the gunwale tho’ they always row |
The oars are ring’d in slings a la Vandevellt at the outside | of Boat. They generally carry 16 men the large – 5 and 6 the small Boats |The forehold is close to the fore-mast. the [?]waist for the fish | and aft for nets – a small locker at the stern. The Boat sprit is lashed | to the foremast allowed to rake down | [sketch of bowsprit] This looks broken and | awkward in the small B[oat].
The sheet of the fore sail is shifted | the weather tack to the Bow in the | large it goes to the Bolt Sails the Main Sail has a clue [cleat?] to the | stern to hold it to the wind, like the Dutch Boat, but no tackle Block
Another inscription at the upper right of the page reads:
in the LB they have [sketch of a cleat] inside in [?]Boat | Boats O in the Bulwark where | [?]coves in.

Thomas Ardill
March 2013

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