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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Folkestone, with Harbour Railway Viaduct 1845

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 12 Recto:
Folkestone, with Harbour Railway Viaduct 1845
Turner Bequest CCCLVI 13
Pencil and watercolour on white wove paper, 230 x 328 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘13’ bottom right
Blind stamped with Turner Bequest monogram towards bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCCLVI–13’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
As with folios 10 and 11 (D36371, D35372), Folkestone Harbour railway viaduct and track occupies the central register of this pencil and watercolour drawing. Turner’s rough pencil notations suggest the very basic components of the composition: the central transecting line of the railway track, a towered building and perhaps a windmill on the distant headland. The red pigment used for the viaduct and track has been highlighted with purple wash, these colours dispersing and bleeding into one another at the point at which the viaduct meets the gradient of the land towards the left. The vivid amorphous streak produced by this merging of watercolour contrasts opportunely with the sparsely developed area to the left of the sheet which has been roughly filled in with vigorous, dry-brush hatches of yellow and purple pigment. Towards the bottom right is an area of translucent red wash interrupted by a sequence of scalloped shapes. These were probably caused by Turner using his fingertips to suggest some sort of foreground incident, or indeed purely for the aesthetic effect.

Alice Rylance-Watson
February 2013

How to cite

Alice Rylance-Watson, ‘Folkestone, with Harbour Railway Viaduct 1845 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, February 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, June 2013, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-folkestone-with-harbour-railway-viaduct-r1142151, accessed 25 February 2021.