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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Ships in a Choppy Sea c.1799-1802

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 91 Recto:
Ships in a Choppy Sea c.1799–1802
Turner Bequest LXIX 92
Pencil and ink on blue laid paper, 135 x 210 mm
Watermark: Strasburg lily (trimmed)
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘92’ bottom left, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘LXIX-92’ bottom left, descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Drawn with the page turned horizontally, this study perhaps relates to the oil painting The Mouth of the Thames,1 which may have been exhibited in Turner’s Gallery in 1807; it was destroyed in the Second World War. The composition is known from a mezzotint by Sir Frank Short (1857–1945), reproduced by Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll.2 The small boat seen receding from the viewer in the left foreground is common to both the picture and this sketch, as is the choppy water, a departure from the generally calm seas that figure in this book; though see folios 98 recto and 125 recto (D04114, D04143; Turner Bequest LXIX 99, 126) for other more animated marine subjects.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.52 no.67.
Ibid., pl.77.
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘748’.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Ships in a Choppy Sea c.1799–1802 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 2016, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-ships-in-a-choppy-sea-r1177984, accessed 09 December 2021.