Joseph Mallord William Turner

Vignette Study; Sea and Sun


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 239 × 188 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXX 89

Display caption

During the 1830s Turner collaborated with the poet Samuel Rogers to provide illustrations for a volume of poems, a number of which had nautical themes. The designs, such as Tornaro, were highly finished and detailed watercolours in vignette form (small-scale images with no defined border). Nevertheless the emphasis on the effects of colour and light on the sea and sky owe much to Turner’s experimental, loose studies.

Gallery label, April 2005

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Catalogue entry

A.J. Finberg reasonably identified the study as a preliminary design for Tornaro (see Tate D27689; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 172), a vignette which Turner produced for Rogers’s Poems (1834).1 The general composition and palette of the two works are closely related. More recently, however, Jan Piggott has linked the study to the vignette Gertrude of Wyoming – The Valley (National Gallery of Scotland),2 an illustration for Thomas Campbell’s Poetical Works (1837).3
Finberg 1909, vol.II, p.895.
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, no.1283; reproduced in colour in Mungo Campbell, A Complete Catalogue of Works by Turner in the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh 1993, p.61.
Piggott 1993, p.96.
Inscribed by unknown hands in blue pencil ‘220’ centre, vertically aligned, and ‘D27606’ bottom left

Meredith Gamer
August 2006

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