Joseph Mallord William Turner

Surf and Beached Sailing Boats


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Chalk and graphite on paper
Support: 142 × 193 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXVIII 38

Catalogue entry

This is among dozens of blue paper studies presumably made in connection with the Cowes Regatta events in the late summer of 1827; see the Introduction to this subsection for other generic harbour and coastal scenes. Turners use of pencil shading and white highlights here is reminiscent of the tonal surf studies on washed or tinted pages in much earlier sketchbooks, such as the 1801 Guisborough Shore and Dunbar books (for example Tate D02427–D02428, D02810; Turner Bequest LII 23a–24, LIV 116a).
As noted in the Introduction, the present work and thirty-four other sheets were recorded in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory as unmounted, and ‘formed part of [a] parcel’ labelled by John Ruskin ‘O. 232. Chalk scrawls on grey. Rubbish.’1
There is another coast scene on the verso (D40309).
Finberg 1909, II, p.702.
Technical notes:
There is some brown staining to the right-hand edge. Despite Finberg’s statement that this sheet was unmounted, the remnants of white mounting paper or tape on the verso are evident from the front at the corners.

Matthew Imms
November 2015

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