Joseph Mallord William Turner

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 51

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook inverted, the sketch on this page shows four vessels of the royal squadron at Leith Roads (see George IV’s Visit to Edinburgh 1822 Introduction). Three of them are clearly at anchor as their sails have been lowered, though they are flying flags at their sterns. In the centre is a large vessel in full sail, clearly being pushed along with some force by the wind. While Turner has paid close attention to the arrangement of the sails, he has been freer in drawing the shrouds and rigging, capturing the movement of the sails and the boats as it is buffeted by the wind. The same boat may also be shown on the verso of this page (folio 51 verso; D17595). More vessels of the squadron are recorded on the opposite page, folio 50 verso (D17592).

Thomas Ardill
August 2008

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