Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Sunrise: Whiting Fishing at Margate


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 490 × 694 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 374

Catalogue entry

This elemental colour study of boats at sea against a brilliant dawn sky has been tentatively linked by Eric Shanes1 to the 1822 watercolour Sun-rise. Whiting Fishing at Margate (private collection),2 engraved in 1825 as ‘Plate 2’ of what turned out to only two Marine Views (Tate impression: T06655). It may well be a preliminary idea for the basic layout and serene atmosphere of that scene, with boats clustered in the sea off the Kent town (depicted away to the south-east on the right), and shares large scale, strong colouring and an 1822 Whatman watermark with sheets more clearly connected with other projected designs for the series, particularly those for A Storm (Shipwreck) (see the Introduction to this section).
Compare Tate D25507 (CCLXIII 383) in the present section, and Tate D25166 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 44), listed in this catalogue’s ‘England and Wales Colour Studies c.1825–39’ section as a possible alternative composition for the later Picturesque Views in England and Wales. Other watercolours of Margate are discussed under the latter sheet, and for Margate’s general significance to the artist, see the present author’s introduction to the Marine Dabblers sketchbook of about 1829–30 (Tate; Turner Bequest CCXLI) in the ‘Margate, Croydon and London’ section.
See Shanes 1997, p.99.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.358 no.507, as ‘Margate from the sea: whiting fishing’, untraced.
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘cclxiii 374’ bottom right.

Matthew Imms
July 2016

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like