Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Quay at Sandwich, with Fisher’s Gate and St Clement’s and St Peter’s Churches


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 76 × 98 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLXIII 6

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the somewhat compressed view is north-west along the picturesque Quay at Sandwich. Above to the left is the Romanesque tower of St Clement’s Church, with Fisher’s Gate in the foreground, with criss-cross indications of its diaper brickwork; beyond are St Peter’s Church with its ogee dome, and the bridge over the River Great Stour beside the Barbican Gate, which is not clearly indicated. The bridge is continued a little way across folio 5 verso opposite (D35766).
Apart from a possible view in the Richmond Hill; Hastings to Margate sketchbook of the late 1810s (Tate D10478; Turner Bequest CXL 36), the drawings in the present book are the only ones as yet identified of the small medieval Cinque Port, about two miles inland from the east coast of Kent, ten north of Dover and about the same south of Margate (see under folio 10 verso; D35776). Deal is on the coast about five miles to the south-east (see under folio 4 recto; D35763). For more of Sandwich, see also folios 7 recto (D35769), 27 verso, 28 verso, 29 verso, 33 verso, 40 verso–41 recto, 41 verso, 42 verso and 43 recto (D35804, D35807, D35809, D35817, D35828–D35829, D35832, D35833; Turner Bequest CCCLXIII 26, 27v, 28a, 32a, 39a–40, 41a, 42)
Fitted into the spaces around the buildings are three related passages of notes. Inverted at the bottom comes: ‘Gone and not a flash of Light | to show its [?disappearance] – [?this ...]’. Also inverted, above the roofline, the observations continue: ‘When it appear’d all dis[?tance] [‘?became’ inserted above] lost | May 30 Margate a small | opening along the horizon marked the’. Towards the top right, written near the gutter with the page turned vertically, the latter sentence appears to conclude: ‘approach of | the Suns [?orb] | [?setting] yellow’.
The whole passage (‘Gone and not a flash of Light to show its disappearance ... When it appear’d all distance became lost ... a small opening along the horizon marked the approach of the Suns orb setting yellow’) has an urgency of direct and ongoing observation emphasised by the multiple underlinings and its being crammed in round an unrelated existing view, with the date and place, ‘May 30 Margate’, also being noted; for actual views of that town, see under folio 10 verso (D35776).

Matthew Imms
September 2016

Hamilton 2003, p.68.

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like

In the shop