J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Drawings Related to the ‘Studies near Brighton’ and ‘Wilson’ Sketchbooks, and Other Subjects 1796–7

Turner Bequest XXIII U, XXVII T, XXXIII I, K, L, N, O, P, Q, R, e, f, XLIV V, W
The works in this small group are primarily marine subjects, probably drawn at Margate; see Tate D00882 (Turner Bequest XXXIII K). There are several similar scenes, apparently drawn on the shore at Margate, in the Wilson sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest XXXVII), where Turner also made memoranda of the compositions of pictures by Richard Wilson (1713–1782). Another such record is Tate D00881 (Tate Bequest XXXIII I).
The atmospheric seascapes and studies of fishing-boats in this sequence (D00395, D00882, D00883, D00885, D00887–D00889, D00902, D00903; Turner Bequest XXIII U, Turner Bequest XXXIII K, L, N, P, Q, R, e, f) are executed with a fluent mastery that parallels the technical developments evident in the Wilson book. The interaction of sea and shore and the activities of fishermen and similar coastal communities were to preoccupy Turner throughout his life. Early marines such as Fishermen upon a Lee-Shore, in Squally Weather 1802 (Southampton Art Gallery)1 and the ‘Iveagh Sea-piece’, A Coast Scene with Fishermen hauling a Boat ashore (Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood, London)2 take up themes explored in these studies. Much later pictures such as Wreckers – Coast of Northumberland of 1834 (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven)3 and Rockets and Blue Lights (close at Hand) to warn Steam-Boats of Shoal-Water of 1840 (Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts)4 incorporate such elements as men hauling on a rope (Tate D00888; Turner Bequest XXXIII Q); and numerous watercolours develop related ideas.
A further two, much larger, drawings are included here by virtue of their probable date: stylistically they seem to belong to around 1796–7, and there are external reasons for supposing the view of the King’s Theatre, Haymarket (Tate D01899; Turner Bequest XLIV W) to date from 1796.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.15–16 no.16, pl.12 (colour).
Ibid., p.109 no.144, pl.149 (colour).
Ibid., pp.206–7 no.357, pl.360 (colour).
Ibid., pp.238–9 no.387, pl.392 (colour).

Andrew Wilton
January 2013

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How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Drawings Related to the ‘Studies near Brighton’ and ‘Wilson’ Sketchbooks, and Other Subjects 1796–7’, subset, January 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, November 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/drawings-related-to-the-studies-near-brighton-and-wilson-sketchbooks-and-other-subjects-r1149792, accessed 18 June 2019.