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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Dover Castle from Shakespeare Cliff c.1822-4

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 18 Recto
Dover Castle from Shakespeare Cliff c.1822–4
Turner Bequest CCII 18
Watercolour on paper, 257 x 178 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘18’ bottom right
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCII–18’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Alexander Finberg and Turner scholar Andrew Wilton have exhibited this watercolour as a study for the Ports of England view of Scarborough (Tate D18142; Turner Bequest CCVIII I), where it is in fact a view of Dover.1 Along with the colour sketch on folio 13 (Tate D17732; Turner Bequest CCII 13), Ian Warrell writes that this drawing formed the basis of the design of the penultimate plate of the 1826 Southern Coast series (for a list of Tate impressions see folio 13).2
The viewpoint is the earthworks below Shakespeare Cliff. The castle atop the headland, bathed in a radiant morning light, is defined chiefly by blue shadow. Turner has applied multiple layers of translucent wash, which blend in gentle gradations and lend a prismatic, hazy effect.
Wilton 1979, p.387, no.751.
Warrell 1991, p.35, no.17.
Inscribed in pencil ‘CCII–18’ bottom centre and again in a different hand towards bottom left.

Alice Rylance-Watson
March 2013

How to cite

Alice Rylance-Watson, ‘Dover Castle from Shakespeare Cliff c.1822–4 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, September 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-dover-castle-from-shakespeare-cliff-r1148307, accessed 28 May 2024.