Joseph Mallord William Turner

Tynemouth, Northumberland


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 370 × 494 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 123

Catalogue entry

This colour study has been suggested by Eric Shanes as relating to the lost watercolour Tynemouth, Northumberland of about 1829 (destroyed by fire, 1962),1 engraved in 1831 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impressions: T04572, T04573, T06092).2 The watercolour shows the view north across Prior’s Haven on the north bank of the Tyne Estuary, as shown in Turner’s 1797 North of England sketchbook (Tate D00942; Turner Bequest XXXIV 35), a watercolour of about that date (Tate D00891; Turner Bequest XXXIII T) and Tynemouth Priory of about 1818 or later (Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery).3
Despite the absence here of the headland on the horizon with Tynemouth Priory and a lighthouse on the skyline, the correlation of various masses and colours suggests that Shanes’s identification is correct: the diagonal bands of blue, white and grey in the sky, the brightly lit water on the right, and the brown in the foreground corresponding to the beach and wreckage in the finished composition. Shanes has proposed a second ‘colour beginning’ (Tate D25277; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 155) as relating to the same design.
See also the introductions to the present subsection of identified subjects and the overall England and Wales ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which this work has been assigned.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, pp.396–7 no.827, reproduced.
Shanes 1997, pp.96, 101, 105.
Ibid., p.362 no.545, reproduced, as c.1818; Eric Shanes, Turner’s England 1810–38, London 1990, p.149, reproduced in colour, as c.1825.

Matthew Imms
March 2013

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