Joseph Mallord William Turner

The ‘Royal George’ and the Royal Squadron at Anchor


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CC 73

Catalogue entry

This sketch, made with the book inverted, has been identified by Gerald Finley as showing George IV’s yacht, the Royal George, at anchor with the royal squadron in Leith Roads. Alongside the yacht is a ‘green’ barge with at least three figures sitting inside it. This same barge is depicted at least twice more in this sketchbook (see folio 71; D17631), and may be the boat that took Sir Walter Scott to visit the King on 14 August (see folio 49 verso; D17590). There are more vessels at the left and other boats of the royal squadron, indicated by single vertical lines representing their masts, with short perpendicular horizontal lines to represent bunting (see folio 64; D17618) to the right. Behind the boats is a view of Arthur’s Seat and perhaps the Pentland Hills beyond.

Thomas Ardill
August 2008

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