Joseph Mallord William Turner

Walmer Castle, near Deal, Kent


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 187 × 227 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 354

Catalogue entry

Finberg suggested this view of a silhouetted castle above a beach might represent Bamburgh in Northumberland1 (see the ‘Bamborough Castle c.1837’ section of this catalogue), but Eric Shanes has identified it as a view of Walmer Castle in Kent, looking north to Deal beach ‘with the castle in shadow and the beach in brilliant sunshine. The polarities of light – and therefore the colour temperature – fix the cool-warm English Channel climate exactly.’2 Shanes notes that the image was developed from a monochrome wash study in the early 1820s Ports of England sketchbook (Tate D17729; Turner Bequest CCII 10).
Turner’s contributions to the Southern Coast series (see the Introduction to this section) included a watercolour of Deal, Kent, made in about 1825 (Deal Town Council) and engraved in 1826 (Tate impressions: T04422, T05236–T05237, T05998).3 Alternatively, Shanes notes that the present work might be an idea for the concurrent Ports of England4 (see Alice Rylance-Watson’s ‘Ports of England c.1822–8’ section), for which Turner prepared another watercolour of Deal (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool),5 engraved in 1828 (no Tate impressions). See under Tate D25410 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 287) for other colour studies linked to Deal.
See Finberg 1909, II, p.842; see also Warrell 1991, p.46.
Shanes 1997, p.61.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.355 no.481.
See Shanes 1997, p.61.
Wilton 1979, p.388 no.758, reproduced.
Technical notes:
Eric Shanes has drawn stylistic parallels between this study and numerous other ‘colour beginnings’ of coastal subjects (Tate D25365, D25383, D25393, D25410, D25422, D25426, D25437, D36117; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 243, 260, 270, 287, 299, 303, 314, CCCLXIV 270), even suggesting they ‘may have been created during the same session of work’; he notes that of these the present work and Tate D25393 and D25410, as well as Tate D25370 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 248) are on similar ‘half-sheets of writing paper that were folded together after being torn into those halves, the folds still being visible’,1 as seen down the centre here.
Paper conservator Peter Bower has analysed the present sheet in more detail, describing it as of ‘very good quality lightweight writing paper ... typical of the notepapers available ... sold folded, in quires of twenty-four sheets at a time’, the format being ‘Post Quarto folded to Post Octavo’.2 He identifies the maker as William Weatherley, of Chartham Mill, Chartham, near Canterbury in Kent,3 and notes: ‘Three other sheets in the Bequest are also on the same paper, possibly originally making up the four quarters of the whole sheet’ these being Tate D25370, D25393 and D25410,4 as previously listed by Shanes.
Shanes 1997, p.61
Bower 1999, p.42.
See ibid.
Ibid., and p.43 note 1.
Ibid., p.43.
Ibid.; see fig.10, ‘showing the extent and depth of discoloration’.

Matthew Imms
July 2016

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like