One of two large studies of the deck of the Victory; the other is Tate D08275; Vaughan Bequest CXXI S. Like most of the sketches in the Nelson sketchbook (Tate D05446–D05490; D40701–D40705; D41427; Turner Bequest LXXXIX) these were made when the Victory returned from the Battle of Trafalgar for repair; see Introduction to the sketchbook for her movements. This drawing is further confirmation that Turner went on board soon after she arrived at Long Reach off Sheerness, and before 1 January 1806 when de-rigging began, as her masts and rigging are still in place. However her guns – normally twelve twelve-pounders on the quarterdeck – appear to have been removed already. As in several drawings in the sketchbook, Turner is looking over the starboard side of the poop down to the quarterdeck. The same view appears in Turner’s picture, Battle of Trafalgar, as Seen from the Mizen Starboard Shrouds of the Victory (Tate, N00480), exhibited in Turner’s Gallery, 18061; it overlooks the section of the quarterdeck where Nelson was killed. In the 1974 Royal Academy catalogue, it is wrongly described as ‘from’ the quarterdeck. The drawing shows several figures, unrelated to the picture and perhaps other visitors to the ship. Some appear to be women.
The handling is quick and spontaneous, suggesting a sketch made on the spot, but the sheet is too large to have been used thus without firm support. It bears evidence of having been folded into eight sections.
Butlin and Joll 1984, p.46 no.58 (pl.68)