Joseph Mallord William Turner

‘The Black Boat’; Vignette Study for the Boat in ‘The Andes Coast’ for Campbell’s ‘Poetical Works’


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 214 × 280 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXX 209

Display caption

During the 1820s and 1830s Turner provided twenty small-scale vignette illustrations for an edition of Thomas Campbell’s Poetical Works 1837. This watercolour is a study for a finished design which accompanies part of the poem The Pleasures of Hope.

The poem uses the metaphor of a beleaguered ship at sea guided by a star as a symbol of hope:

‘Rocks, waves, and winds the shatter’d bark delay-
Thy heart is sad, thy home is far away.
But Hope can here her moonlight vigils keep,
And sing to charm the spirit of the deep.’

Gallery label, July 2008

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