Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sailing Boats


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Support: 129 × 75 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXLII 16 a

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, there are three levels of studies here. Allowing for the rubbing to the surface of the page against the rear pastedown which slightly disrupts the reading, at the top appears to be a sailing boat with its mast tilted sharply to the right, with cliffs or buildings beyond and a jagged line of cloud or even lightning at the top left. At the centre is a single boat, with what may be a coastline in the distance to the left. At the bottom, separated by a horizontal pencil line, several boats sail towards the right, with the one at the far left possibly separated by a vertical line.
The occasion of these sketches is unknown; possibly they were made on the South Coast (see the sketchbook’s Introduction).

Matthew Imms
May 2014

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