Joseph Mallord William Turner

Two Views of Dover, with Dover Castle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCVIII 45 a

Catalogue entry

Turner makes two drawings of Dover on this page, flipping the sketchbook to exploit the horizontal width of the sheet in both instances.1 The first sketch, made with the page oriented according to foliation, describes two coastal dwellings, with what appears to be a cliff face falling off to the right next to the gutter. There is possibly a light insinuation of the tower of Dover Castle in the background towards the left. The road that Turner was presumably using to travel towards the seaside town appears to carry on before him, cutting through the centre of the scene and down between the sloping undulations of land on either side. The handling is swift and in places imprecise, although the house on the right seems measured and detailed, with out-buildings clearly delineated. For a list of additional studies concerned with the topography at Dover in the current book, refer to the entry for folio 71 verso (D17329).
Made with the sketchbook inverted according to foliation, the second sketch on this page describes a more expansive view of Dover Castle using a reductive linear silhouette. The drawing is simple but carefully observes the complex network of towers and walls to produce a faithful summary of the landmark. The surrounding countryside is rendered in a brisk and confident scrawl in the foreground, more carefully considered on the right where Turner describes the angular ascension of the sloping hillside. For further studies of Dover Castle in the present sketchbook, see the entry for folio 24 recto (D17247).
Finberg 1909, I, p.605.
Technical notes:
A very small section of the bottom left hand corner has been torn away and lost.

Maud Whatley
January 2016

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