Joseph Mallord William Turner

Study for Unidentified Vignettes: Mackerel on a Beach


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 202 × 153 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 343

Catalogue entry

The subject of this vignette combines landscape elements with a carefully composed still-life. The scene shows a group of shimmering mackerel and a cluster of mussels arrayed on the shore. In the middle distance, two fishermen are carrying wicker pots or baskets presumably filled with fresh catch, whilst in the background is a magnificent ship with a full complement of sails unfurled. The illustration belongs to a group of four finished designs that Turner produced for an unidentified project (see also Tate D27520; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 3, Tate D27521; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 4 and Tate D25465; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 342). The other designs retain a similar format and depict lobsters and crabs, cod and red snapper, and gurnet, dog fish and plaice respectively. None of the watercolours was ever engraved for publication. For a detailed discussion of the group see Tate D27520; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 3
Inscribed by unknown hands in pencil ‘91 | b’ centre right and ‘CCLXIII.343’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCLXIII 343’ bottom left

Meredith Gamer
August 2006

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