Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Stern of a Hulk on the River Medway


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 112 × 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCIX 11

Catalogue entry

The small section of a ship’s stern at the far right of this page is an overspill from the composition on folio 10 recto (D17381). Improvising with limited space, Turner appears to have slid the previous page towards the left, revealing a portion of the present sheet beneath, upon which he could complete his sketch. This part of the study describes some of the gun ports along a small portion of the hull. The windows of the gallery are indicated at far right, and the ensign staff juts out above them, supporting a limp flag of substantial proportions.
Ian Warrell has identified the sketch on folio 10 recto,1 to which the current sheet contributes, as one of four in the present book upon which Turner based the watercolour Rochester, on the River Medway of 1822 (Tate D18156; Turner Bequest CCVIII W).2 The watercolour was engraved by Thomas Lupton and published in 1824 (Tate impressions T06370, T04796–T04798). The additional studies in Warrell’s group that contributed to this work can be found on folios 18 recto, 18 verso, and 19 recto (D17394–D17396).

Maud Whatley
January 2016

Warrell 1991, p.31 under no.11.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.385 no.735, reproduced.

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