Joseph Mallord William Turner

Waves Breaking on the Shore


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 115 × 164 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LIV 115 a

Display caption

Turner would have made most of his paintings of the sea in the studio, but his sketchbooks reveal his tendency to sketch from life in front of the subject. He had a great interest in details of rigging and masts and took pains to ensure the accuracy of his drawings. A contemporary audience would have recognised the visual differences between commercial and naval shipping.

Gallery label, July 2008

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Catalogue entry

The drawing is continued on folio 116 recto opposite (D02809). It is one of a series of studies of breaking waves between folios 109 recto and 116 verso (D02796–D02810); see also folio 3 verso (D02618) and the entry for D02809.
Technical notes:
Folios 109–116 (D02796–D02810) probably belonged originally between folios 33 and 34 (D02649, D02650); see the technical notes to the sketchbook’s Introduction.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Read full Catalogue entry


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