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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Boats Seen from the Beach: A Lee Shore c.1799-1805

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 48 Verso:
Boats Seen from the Beach: A Lee Shore c.1799–1805
Turner Bequest LXXXI 94
Black and white chalks, ink and wash on blue laid paper, 436 x 271 mm
Watermarks ‘1794’ and ‘VI’
Inscribed by Turner in ink ‘Do not painted 1805’ centre left, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘LXXXI–94’ bottom left
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The subject is continued on folio 49 recto opposite (D04997; Turner Bequest LXXXI 95). Other versions of the design are on folios 33 verso–45 recto, 47 verso–48 recto and 50 verso–51 recto (D04988–D04989, D04994–D04995, D05000–D05001; Turner Bequest LXXXI 86–87, 92–93, 98–99).
Here Turner shows his recurrent interest in subjects in which individual elements are superimposed in an apparently impenetrable visual tangle: Ships Bearing up for Anchorage (‘The Egremont Seapiece’), exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1802 (Tate T03868, displayed at Petworth House, West Sussex),1 is an example; see folios 33 verso–34 recto, 34 verso–35 recto and 37 verso–38 recto (D04966–D04969, D04974–D04975; Turner Bequest LXXXI 64–65, 66–67, 72–73). A canvas of 1804, Boats Carrying out Anchors and Cables to Dutch Men of War, in 1665 (Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC),2 uses the device seen here, of a small boat directly in front of a larger one; in this case, the latter is in sharp foreshortening, viewed from the stern.
The motif of a small boat breasting a steep breaker close to the shore is the principal subject of Fishermen upon a Lee–Shore, in Squally Weather, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1802 (Southampton Art Gallery),3 studied on folios 43 verso–44 recto, 49 verso–50 recto and 51 verso–52 recto (D04986–D04987, D04998–D04999, D05002–D05003; Turner Bequest LXXXI 84–85, 96–97, 100–101).

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.17 no.18, pl.14 (colour).
Ibid., pp.40–1 no.52, pl.62 (colour).
Ibid., pp.15–16 no.16, pl.12 (colour).

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Boats Seen from the Beach: A Lee Shore c.1799–1805 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-boats-seen-from-the-beach-a-lee-shore-r1178200, accessed 25 September 2021.