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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Shakespeare Cliff, Dover, from near the Harbour 1825

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 1 Verso:
Shakespeare Cliff, Dover, from near the Harbour 1825
Turner Bequest CCXIV 1a
Pencil on white wove paper, 95 x 155 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
With the page turned horizontally, the view is to the west from Dover Harbour, with the distinctive profile of Shakespeare Cliff overlooking the English Channel on the left, as identified by Finberg.1 Various later developments make comparisons difficult in other respects, but the viewpoint is south-west of the harbour entrance, and the elevated wall above the houses along the beach appears to be part of Archcliffe Fort. There is a slighter reprise at the top (outer) edge. See also folios 254 verso, 255 recto and 267 verso (D18842, D19345–D19346, D19371) a view from further off on folio 262 recto (D19360), and the contemporary Holland, Meuse and Cologne sketchbook (Tate D19405, D19408; Turner Bequest CCXV 3, 4a).
Compare a pencil sketch (Tate D34161; Turner Bequest CCCXLI 427v) showing Shakespeare Cliff from a similar angle, apparently made around 1844 when the twin tunnels of the Dover to Folkestone railway first emerged at its base. For Turner’s many other Dover views in this sketchbook and elsewhere, see under folio 2 recto opposite (D18843), a view back to the town from the defences of the Western Heights.

Matthew Imms
September 2020

See Finberg 1909, II, p.650.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Shakespeare Cliff, Dover, from near the Harbour 1825 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, September 2020, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, March 2023, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-shakespeare-cliff-dover-from-near-the-harbour-r1202194, accessed 26 May 2024.