Joseph Mallord William Turner

Three Views of Calais and One of Dover from the Sea


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Support: 115 x 94 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCIII 104

Catalogue entry

The final leg of Turner’s return journey from Italy took him from Calais to Dover, arriving back in London on 1 February 1820. The three lower sketches on this page represent views of the town and harbour of Calais seen from the sea, the compositions of which spill over onto the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 104 verso (D16885; Turner Bequest CXCIII 103a). The artist has drawn the sequence at various intervals from the coastline, with the distance increasing in stages from bottom to top. The most identifiable vista on this sheet is perhaps the second from the top which clearly depicts the silhouette of the town with the church of Notre Dame, the Tour de Guet and the tower of the Hôtel de Ville (old Town Hall). Compare an earlier study in the Small Calais Pier sketchbook (Tate D04198; Turner Bequest LXXI 6). For further studies and a general discussion of Calais see folio 104 (D16884; Turner Bequest CXCIII 103).
The scene at the top of the page depicts Dover from the sea with the castle on the cliffs above the shoreline. The drawing continues on the opposite page. For further views of Dover see folio 105 verso (D16887; Turner Bequest CXCIII 104a).

Nicola Moorby
March 2011

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