Joseph Mallord William Turner

Yachts under Sail off Cowes Castle, with Figures in the Foreground


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and graphite on paper
Support: 140 × 192 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXVIII 39

Catalogue entry

This is among dozens of blue paper studies presumably made in connection with the Cowes Regatta events in the late summer of 1827; see the Introduction to this subsection for other views of Cowes Castle. Here the viewpoint is the shore at the mouth of the River Medina north of the castle, with its castellated barbican (the only feature still recognisable after much subsequent redevelopment), seen on the right of the painting East Cowes Castle, the Seat of J. Nash, Esq.; the Regatta Starting for their Moorings, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1828 (Victoria and Albert Museum, London).1 There are similar views in the sketchbooks used at this time, particularly one in the Windsor and Cowes, Isle of Wight book (Tate D20707; Turner Bequest CCXXVI 69).
As noted there, the present work and thirty-four other sheets were recorded in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory as unmounted, and ‘formed part of [a] parcel’ labelled by John Ruskin ‘O. 232. Chalk scrawls on grey. Rubbish.’2
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.150–1 no.243, pl.247 (colour).
Finberg 1909, II, p.702.
Blank; inscribed in red ink ‘460’ bottom left; inscribed in pencil ‘CCXXVIII 39’ bottom right. Despite Finberg’s statement that this sheet was unmounted, the remnants of white mounting paper or tape are evident at the corners.

Matthew Imms
November 2015

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