Joseph Mallord William Turner

Small Boats in Breakers, with Calais Beyond


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Chalk on paper
Support: 271 × 436 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXXI 71

Catalogue entry

This study was made with the page turned horizontally. The note ‘Do’ (for ‘Ditto’), refers to folio 36 verso opposite (D04972; Turner Bequest LXXXI 70), with its inscription ‘Our Situation at Calais Bar’, which in its turn refers to the drawing inscribed ‘Our landing at Calais nearly swampt’ on folios 30 verso–31 recto (D04960–D04961; Turner Bequest LXXXI 58–59).
Further drawings in the sequence are that inscribed ‘My landing at Calais’ on folios 38 verso–39 recto (D04976–D04977; Turner Bequest LXXXI 74–75), and that on the following spread, folios 39 verso–40 recto (D04978–D04979; Turner Bequest LXXXI 76–77), which is in turn marked ‘Do’. Whereas the study opposite (D04972) shows a small boat on its own, this one (like the two latter) introduces a larger vessel nearby, bringing the subject matter closer to that of Calais Pier, with French Poissards Preparing for Sea: An English Packet Arriving (National Gallery, London),1 the important painting that Turner sent to the Royal Academy exhibition in 1803.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.37–8 no.48, pl.58 (colour).

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop