Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Coast of Essex and Kent: Southend-on-Sea, Leigh, Margate and Kingsgate


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 111 × 181 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXVIII 2 a

Catalogue entry

This page contains sketches of the coast of Essex and Kent that were made from the sea. On 4 or 5 October Turner seems to have returned from Edinburgh by sea down the East Coast. It is possible that he continued south all the way to Kent, but it is perhaps more likely that he returned to London first. These sketches of the Thames Estuary and Kent were perhaps made on a later occasion from a steamboat from London to Margate or Ramsgate; see the Edinburgh sketchbook 1834 Introduction.
At the top of the page, when the sketchbook is held in the portrait format with the spine at the left, are two sketches of the Essex coastline. The top sketch is inscribed ‘South End’, and depicts Southend-on-Sea from the mouth of the Thames, with two sailing vessels heading west off the coast at the right. The arrow and inscription ‘w’ may indicate that the building being pointed out is white. These two vessels may be depicted again in the sketch beneath, which is labelled ‘Ligh’ and is likely to depict Leigh-on-Sea, the town directly to the west of Southend. There is a sketch of the nearby Blythe Sands on folio 20 (D26132).
The other four sketches, made with the sketchbook in the landscape format and the spine at the bottom, were made off the Kentish coast. The top sketch is inscribed ‘Margate’ and shows the town from the north with the pier at the centre, Holy Trinity Church on the right, and a row of windmills further down the coast to the east at the left. Further sketches of Margate are on folio 17 verso (D26127) and perhaps also on folio 24 (D26140).
The sketch beneath is labelled ‘Kingsgate’, referring to a part of the town of Broadstairs on the southern side of the Isle of Thanet. This sketch probably depicts Kingsgate Bay with Kingsgate Castle on the cliff at the left.
The bottom two sketches are presumably of the Thanet coastline near Broadstairs. They may, in fact, fill the gap between Broadstairs and Ramsgate, a sketch of which is on folio 31 verso (D26155).
There are light brown stains near the gutter at the bottom of the page.

Thomas Ardill
January 2011

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