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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Sailing Ships Towed by Rowing Boats in the Avon Gorge 1798

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Sailing Ships Towed by Rowing Boats in the Avon Gorge 1798
Turner Bequest XLI 26a
Pencil and wash on white wove paper, 284 x 457 mm
Inscribed in pencil ‘26a’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘XLI – 26a’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The identification of this subject in the Third Loan Collection list as ‘Dartmouth’ is inexplicable, given its close association with other studies of shipping in the present sketchbook, which are probably related to drawings in the contemporary Swans sketchbook (Tate D01697–D01704; Turner Bequest XLII 22–29) showing ships in Bristol harbour. See the entry for D01656 (Turner Bequest XLI 25). Here too the setting is probably the Avon Gorge, between Bristol and the Severn estuary; but see D01661 (Turner Bequest XLI 28a).
Finberg numbered this page twice, correcting himself in the course of compiling his 1909 Inventory but leaving a redundant entry for Turner Bequest ‘34’, cross-referenced to XLI 26a.1 When Tate accession numbers were assigned, the spurious entry was designated D01667; that number has since been cancelled.
Finberg 1909, I, p.99.
Technical notes:
The paper is discoloured, and stained at the right edge. Although this drawing makes use of relatively little colour with its grey and brown washes, it is evident that it has suffered from exposure to light, and that was indeed the reason for its withdrawal from the Loan Collection in September 1905.1
See ibid., p.98.
Blank; not stamped.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Sailing Ships Towed by Rowing Boats in the Avon Gorge 1798 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 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-sailing-ships-towed-by-rowing-boats-in-the-avon-gorge-r1173274, accessed 21 January 2022.