Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sunset (?or Moonrise) over a Calm Sea with a Sailing Vessel, and the Coast of Kent with Reculver Church in the Distance


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache, graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 93 × 113 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXXVII 114

Catalogue entry

It has been assumed that this study, made with the page turned horizontally, shows a sunset; but it is equally likely to show the grand rise of a full moon, which would be more consistent with the eastward looking view here: the north coast of Kent on the right, and the estuary of the Thames, with perhaps a portion of the Essex coast to the left. This is the last of a sequence of subjects presumably made around Margate; see under folio 52 verso (D01223; Turner Bequest XXXVII 106).
For Reculver see the sketchbook’s Introduction and another view of the church in the contemporary Studies near Brighton sketchbook (Tate D00731; Turner Bequest XXX 2).

Andrew Wilton
September 2012

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