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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner A Flag and Diagram of Ship Positions 1805

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 32 Recto:
A Flag and Diagram of Ship Positions 1805
Turner Bequest LXXXIX 25
Pencil and black chalk on white wove paper, 114 x 184 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘25’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘LXXXIX 25’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
These sketches are very slight. The flag is unidentified but might be a French standard. Rather more detailed or annotated diagrams of the Battle of Trafalgar are on folios 9 verso and 31 verso of the sketchbook (D05456, D05479; Turner Bequest 24a). As with other diagrams in the book, this is crudely drawn, perhaps initially by an eye-witness to the battle who Turner met aboard the Victory.
Blank, but inscribed by Turner in black chalk ‘15 Sunday’
15 December 1805 was a Sunday, and possibly this was the day Victory was expected by Turner to arrive in the Medway, having sailed from Portsmouth on the 11th, although in fact she was delayed by adverse winds until the 23rd; see Introduction to the sketchbook.

David Blayney Brown
March 2006

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘A Flag and Diagram of Ship Positions 1805 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2006, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-a-flag-and-diagram-of-ship-positions-r1139290, accessed 28 October 2021.