Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Arrival of Louis-Philippe: Shipping in Portsmouth Harbour


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink on paper
Support: 143 × 186 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 458

Catalogue entry

Like the other works grouped here, this relates to the arrival of Louis-Philippe, King of the French, at Portsmouth Harbour on 8 October 1844, as discussed in the Introductions to this subsection and the overall section.1 This is the only one in ink, and Robert Upstone has suggested that it ‘may have been made on a piece of writing paper which Turner had to hand’ during his visit2 (see the technical notes below). The King’s large hybrid sail-steamship, the Gomer, appears to be shown at the bottom left, surrounded by many smaller craft; compare Tate D35981 (Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 138).
Turner worked both ways up, with a fluency and urgency which suggests either direct observation or recollection not long afterwards. Ian Warrell has speculated that it may even be a ‘furtive record’ of a painting by John Christian Schetky (1778–1874), The Arrival of His Majesty the King of the French, when it was on exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1845 (Southampton City Art Gallery).3
In 2006, as one of the participants in Tate Britain’s Drawing from Turner project and exhibition, the painter and printmaker Tom Phillips (born 1937) made and exhibited an elaborate interpretation of this work using pen and pigment ink arrayed in thousands of dots over a Xerox copy of a detail to produce a ‘small vignette in negative’. Jeffrey Dennis (born 1958), painter and Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art, contributed a free pencil variation, as did Rachel Lowe, a painter and multi-media artist who had studied at Chelsea in 1992–3. A more direct copy by Sherine Osseiran, then a final year BA student in painting at Chelsea, was not exhibited.4
See also Warrell 2013, p.9, and Smiles 2014, p.168.
Upstone 1993, p.54.
See Warrell 2013, pp.11–12; for Schetky’s painting, see ibid., p.11 fig.3 (colour).
See ‘Drawing from Turner: The Arrival of Louis-Philippe 1844’, Tate, accessed 8 September 2016,; see also Phillips 2006, p.4, Wilton 2007, p.7, and ‘Studio blog: Drawing from Turner at Tate Britain’, Tom Phillips, accessed 8 September 2016,
Technical notes:
The sheet has been folded horizontally, a little below the centre. As Ian Warrell has noted, it appears to come from one of the ‘narrow almanac pocket-books [Turner] used in later life’.1
Warrell 2013, p.11.
Blank; inscribed in red ink ‘cccxliv [...]’ and ‘[?4..]’ crossed through in pencil and in pencil ‘458’ top left, upside down. The heavy ink drawing shows through from the recto, and the lower half is rubbed and darkened.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

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