Joseph Mallord William Turner

Vignette Study for ‘The Andes Coast’, for Campbell’s ‘Poetical Works’


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 249 × 200 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXX 137

Catalogue entry

This watercolour sketch of a distant ship sailing in calm blue waters has been identified by Jan Piggott as a preparatory study for The Andes Coast circa 1835 (National Gallery of Scotland),1 a vignette illustration designed by Turner for Edward Moxon’s 1837 edition of Thomas Campbell’s Poetical Works.2 The finished watercolour was engraved by Edward Goodall and published to accompany the poem ‘The Pleasures of Hope’.3
There are eight possible vignette studies related to The Andes Coast, most of which feature the same motif of a ship sailing amidst a stormy sea (see Tate D27524; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 7). This example, however, depicts a far more tranquil, halcyon scene. Unlike the beleaguered vessel tossed by the turbulent waves of the final version, this ship is silhouetted against a flat, still horizon. The white moon also appears on the opposite side of the composition although Turner has used the same palette for the mountainous backdrop of the coastline beyond.
Piggott 1993, p.96.
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.
W.G. Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., vol.II, London 1913, no.614. There is one impression in Tate’s collection (T04766).
Technical notes:
Like many of the works which were displayed as part of the National Gallery’s loan collections during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries this watercolour has suffered fading due to overexposure.
Inscribed by an unknown hand in pencil ‘137 ? CCLXXX’ top right

Meredith Gamer
August 2006

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