Joseph Mallord William Turner

Two Boats at Sea near Wimereux


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In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 238 × 336 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLVII 4

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Turner had to forego his planned trip to Swtizerland in 1845. This was due to extra responsibilities at the Royal Academy, resulting from the illness of the President. In May he compensated by going first to Margate, and then crossing the Channel to Boulogne. He wrote to Ruskin's father 'really I have been so unwell that I was obliged to go away from Town to revival by a little change of fresh air.' Turner travelled a short distance along the coast north of Boulogne, making a series of watercolour studies at Ambleteuse and Wimereux. This example shows the view across the bay at Wimereux, beautifully evoking the flickering light of a stormy spring day. Turner records the date, and also the location in a phonetic abbreviation.

Gallery label, August 2004

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