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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Seascape, with Fortification on Cliffs in Distance c.1822-3

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 2 Recto
Seascape, with Fortification on Cliffs in Distance c.1822–3
Turner Bequest CCII 2
Pencil and watercolour on white wove paper, 257 x 178 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘2’ bottom right
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCII–2’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner’s gestural handling here recreates to full effect the motion of the choppy sea and inclement sky above. Turner employs a combination of vigorous strokes of dry brush to render the swell of the waves and daubs of pigment allowed to bleed and feather on saturated paper for the sky heavy with rain.
A number of sails can be seen in the distance in yellow and in the foreground in mauve wash, implying that this may be a harbour scene. Tentative line drawings of masts and sails in pencil are at the horizon on the left. The profile of a headland occupies the majority of the central register. A striking ‘V’ shape exposes some of the sky before the headland continues to the periphery of the sheet. A fortification of some kind, perhaps a Martello tower, is atop this section of cliff.
Inscribed in pencil ‘CCII–2’.

Alice Rylance-Watson
March 2013

How to cite

Alice Rylance-Watson, ‘Seascape, with Fortification on Cliffs in Distance c.1822–3 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-seascape-with-fortification-on-cliffs-in-distance-r1148291, accessed 28 May 2024.