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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner A Fishing Boat c.1799-1802

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 127 Recto:
A Fishing Boat c.1799–1802
Turner Bequest LXIX 128
Ink and gouache on blue laid paper, 135 x 210 mm
Watermark: Strasburg lily (trimmed)
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘128’ bottom left, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘LXIX-128’ bottom left, descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
With folios 95 recto and 104 recto (D04110, D04120; Turner Bequest LXIX 96, 105), this drawing, made with the page turned horizontally, is perhaps related to the evolution of the painting Dutch Boats in a Gale: Fishermen Endeavouring to Put their Fish on Board (‘The Bridgewater Seapiece’) of 1801 (private collection, on long loan to the National Gallery, London).1 Alternatively, Fishing Boats Entering Calais Harbour of about 1803 (Frick Collection, New York)2 may make use of these notes.
It has been argued that the subject of the ‘Bridgewater Sea-piece’ is an imminent collision between two boats,3 and in this rapid note, although it shows only one vessel, the opposed sharp diagonals of the spars are vividly suggestive of a moment of crisis in navigation.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.12–13 no.14, pl.11 (colour).
Ibid., p.108 no.142, pl.147 (colour).
See A.G.H. Bachrach, ‘Turner, Ruisdael and the Dutch’, Turner Studies, vol.1, no.1, Summer 1981, p.25.

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘A Fishing Boat c.1799–1802 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, May 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, April 2016, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-a-fishing-boat-r1178025, accessed 20 October 2021.