Joseph Mallord William Turner

The ‘Victory’: From Quarterdeck to Poop


Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink, graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 424 × 565 mm
Bequeathed by Henry Vaughan 1900
Turner Bequest CXXI S

Catalogue entry

Bequeathed by Henry Vaughan 1900
?Dr Thomas Monro
?Samuel Rogers
One of two large studies of the deck of the Victory; for the other see Tate D08243; Turner Bequest CXX c. Like most of the sketches in the Nelson sketchbook (Tate D05446–D05490; D40701–D40705; D41427; Turner Bequest LXXXIX) these were made when the Victory had returned from the Battle of Trafalgar and was at Long Reach off Sheerness; see Introduction to the sketchbook for her movements. Like the other large drawing, this one must have been made before 1 January 1806 when de-rigging began as some rigging and the mizzen mast are still in place. The view is from the port side of the quarterdeck towards the poop deck. Captain Hardy’s cabin is shown knocked out for refit, which also gives some idea of how the ship appeared when cleared for battle, with the cabin partitions struck down. As well as the splinter marks and damaged rail, Turner’s annotations indicate (correctly) the twelve-pound capacity of the guns that would then have been installed, the cabin windows becoming extra ports, although these guns have been removed together with those on the quarterdeck. The guns on the poop deck remain in place.
Like the other large drawing, the sheet bears evidence of having been folded several times. Unlike it, however, it was worked over more carefully in pen, ink and watercolour, perhaps as a gift to Turner’s early mentor Dr Monro (died 1833) to whom it apparently belonged, as well as to his friend and patron Samuel Rogers (died 1855) before passing into the collection of Henry Vaughan. The drawing is laid on a grey mount with red ink lines and inscriptions by a later hand in pencil, stating ‘Dr. Monro’s Colln | S. Rogers’ Clln’ bottom left, and otherwise mainly repeating Turner’s own notes; ‘Quarter Deck of the Victory. J.M.W. Turner | Guns 12 lb used in the Ports marked ‘x’ | paper mark 1793. Picture painted in 1808’ bottom centre, and ‘Splinter Hitting marks in pencil | 9 inches thick | Rail shot away during the action’ bottom right.

David Blayney Brown
April 2006

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop