In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 250 × 308 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 41

Display caption

Remarkable for its great difference in technique and approach to subject from the other exhibited view of the port (no.48), Turner has inscribed this sheet 'Treport'. It would be impossible to guess the location without this written indication. Turner relied on the many thousands of drawings in his sketchbooks for the pictorial information he needed for his finished works. This watercolour could not fulfil such a function. It is instead an example of the artist taking enjoyment in the medium of watercolour, experimenting with a satisfying mix of colour, foram and technique for its own sake, in a manner that approaches abstraction. In no sense is it a study for a picture in the way that his 'colour-beginnings' are (e.g. no.1).

Gallery label, September 2004

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