Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Bow and Bowsprit of a Ship

c.1821

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 112 × 190 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17417
Turner Bequest CXCIX 33

Catalogue entry

Continuing from brief beginnings on the facing page, folio 32 verso (D17416), here Turner produces a drawing of the bow and bowsprit of a ship. It illustrates how a detailed and elaborate web of braces, clew lines, and sheets enable the bowsprit, effectively a mast, to support the sails of the ship from a forty degree angle. This example is clearly crossed with a yard and sail close to its middle point. Turner also elaborates the surface of the deck, capturing an environment cluttered with complex paraphernalia.
Towards top left, a small, isolated drawing hones in on two pairs of deadeyes threaded with cordage and pulled taut, stretched to form a diagonal axis. At bottom right, a largely illegible sketch is loosely composed, left open ended on its rightmost side.

Maud Whatley
January 2016

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