Joseph Mallord William Turner

Yachts under Sail off Cowes, with East Cowes Castle Beyond


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 112 × 192 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXVI 1 a

Catalogue entry

The main drawing is inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, showing the view south-eastwards from the shore near Cowes Castle (see under folio 72 verso; D20708; Turner Bequest CCXXVI 69a), looking beyond yachts at the mouth of the River Medina to where East Cowes Castle is indicated on the skyline at the centre. Towards the top right is a small sketch of yachts at sea, made with the page turned vertically and framed on three sides by pencil lines.
Although the castle was the supposed focus of the paintings East Cowes Castle, the Seat of J. Nash, Esq.; the Regatta Beating to Windward (Indianapolis Museum of Art)1 and East Cowes Castle, the Seat of J. Nash, Esq.; the Regatta Starting for their Moorings, both exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1828 (Victoria and Albert Museum, London),2 it is very much in the background there; similarly in this sketchbook it is often barely indicated on its distant crest, in relation to other aspects of the landscape and shipping on the Medina: see also folios 18 verso, 22 recto, 27 verso, 50 recto, 52 recto, 56 verso, 71 recto, 74 recto and verso, 75 verso, 78 verso and 84 recto (D20623, D20630, D20640, D20673, D20677, D20683, D20705, D20711, D20712, D20714, D20720, D20729; Turner Bequest CCXXVI 17a, 21, 26a, 48, 50, 53a, 68, 71, 71a, 72a, 75a, 80).
These are among many such coastal and nautical studies in this sketchbook, presumably made in the vicinity of Cowes as discussed in the Introduction.

Matthew Imms
November 2015

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.150 no.242, pl.246 (colour).
Ibid., pp.150–1 no.243, pl.247 (colour).

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