This watercolour sketch is a preparatory study for Turner’s finished vignette, The Andes Coast circa 1835 (National Gallery of Scotland), which he designed to accompany part of Thomas Campbell’s poem, ‘The Pleasures of Hope’.1 The illustration was engraved by Edward Goodall and published in Edward Moxon’s 1837 edition of Campbell’s Poetical Works.2 It shows a small ship making its way on a choppy sea, guided by the light of a radiant moon. This study is related to the background of the scene and its mountainous coastline, craggy cliffs, wispy clouds and pink and blue palette reappear in the final version.
There are seven other watercolour studies in the Turner Bequest that appear to relate to The Andes Coast (see Tate D27524; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 7). However, this is the only design to focus specifically on the background element of the composition. Despite the similarities in content and palette, several features such as the absence of a ship and the inclusion of a blazing sun, set it apart from the finished design and the other preparatory sketches.
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, no.1272; reproduced in colour in Mungo Campbell, A Complete Catalogue of Works by Turner in the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh 1993, p.55.
Inscribed by unknown hands in pencil ‘AB 144 P.O’ and ‘CCLXXX 11’ and ‘Box 99’ and ‘Nos 1–25’ bottom right. Also in red ink ‘1074’ bottom left
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