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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner ?Shipping or Avenue of Trees, with Fortification in the Distance c.1822-3

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 22 Recto
?Shipping or Avenue of Trees, with Fortification in the Distance c.1822–3
Turner Bequest CCII 22
Watercolour on paper, 257 x 178 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘22’ bottom right
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCII–22’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
A chaotic and discordant assemblage of vigorous brush-strokes, this drawing is similar in handling to one in the Old London Bridge sketchbook of about 1823–4 (Tate D17882; Turner Bequest CCV 27). Alexander Finberg suggests the view is of an avenue of trees with the silhouette of a fortification or castle in the distance rendered in pale blue wash. The drawing might also depict a congested harbour, a jarring interlock of masts indicated by repeated cruciform lines. Gently curving horizontal strokes of wet wash at the bottom of the sheet may also suggest the curvature of hulls.
The variety of handling is particularly striking here. Turner has employed dry brush and wet, producing an interplay of textured, mottled strokes and areas where wash has bled and feathered. The amorphous pure black mark at the centre of the composition is both visually arresting and amplifies that abstract quality of this scene.
Technical notes:
The black mark has offset onto the opposite folio. There is also some offsetting of the surrounding grey wash.

Alice Rylance-Watson
March 2013

How to cite

Alice Rylance-Watson, ‘?Shipping or Avenue of Trees, with Fortification in the 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-shipping-or-avenue-of-trees-with-fortification-in-the-r1148311, accessed 28 May 2024.