Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Sunrise: Whiting Fishing at Margate


On loan

ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum (Aarhus, Denmark): Turner Watercolours: Sun is God

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 388 × 497 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 383

Catalogue entry

Although described by Finberg as a sunset,1 this atmospheric colour of the sun low over the sea has been tentatively linked by Eric Shanes2 to the 1822 watercolour Sun-rise. Whiting Fishing at Margate (private collection),3 engraved in 1825 as ‘Plate 2’ of what turned out to only two Marine Views (Tate impression: T06655). Although it lacks any of the shipping or coastal features in that design, its colouring and mood are comparable, not least in the sequence of colours in the sea from blue down through greens and browns. The sun in the finished composition is noticeably off-centre to the left, clear of the cliffs occupying the right-hand half of the horizon, and Turner seems to be experimenting here with another variation in asymmetrical placement.
Compare Tate D25497 (CCLXIII 374) 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 Finberg 1909, II, p.844.
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.
Technical notes:
The sun was initially reserved before being lightly washed; the colours in the sea below have been lifted out to evoke the track of its reflection.
Technical notes:
There is a jagged, closed 100 mm tear to the right-hand edge.
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘CCLXIII’ bottom right.

Matthew Imms
July 2016

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