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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner St Mary and St Eanswythe's Church, Folkestone, above the Harbour, with the Coast towards Dover in the Distance 1825

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 15 Recto:
St Mary and St Eanswythe’s Church, Folkestone, above the Harbour, with the Coast towards Dover in the Distance 1825
D18869
Turner Bequest CCXIV 15
Pencil on white wove paper, 95 x 155 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘15’ bottom left, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘CCXIV – 15’ bottom left, descending vertically
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
With the page turned horizontally, the setting is Folkestone, as tentatively suggested by Finberg.1 The view is east-north-east from south-west of the cliff-top St Mary and St Eanswythe’s Church, with bare, jagged cliffs in the foreground, the harbour below, and the undulating, compressed line of chalk cliffs along East Wear Bay stretching away to the distinctive profile of Shakespeare Cliff, about five miles off on the near side of Dover (see under folio 2 recto; D18843).
The setting relates to that of the watercolour Folkestone, Kent (Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati),2 engraved in 1826 for the Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast (Tate impressions: T05254, T05997) and enlivened by the introduction of a band of smugglers burying kegs of spirits in the foreground, while the sparkling succession of chalk cliffs in the distance extend twice as far to the right of the tower. The area around the church has since seen much development, with buildings and trees preventing an immediately equivalent view today from along the Leas or the Road of Remembrance, which descends to the harbour. See also folios 17 verso, 18 recto and 19 verso (D18874–D18875, D18878), and studies of the church on folio 282 recto (D19399).
The overall viewpoint of the present sketch is closest to the watercolour’s, which appears to incorporate the low cliffs from the foregrounds of D18875 and D18878. There are also close-up studies of the church on folio 282 recto (D19399). Turner reprised the scene in a loose pencil and watercolour study in the 1845 Ideas of Folkestone sketchbook (Tate D35370; Turner Bequest CCCLVI 10). For his numerous other views around the town in the present sketchbook and elsewhere, see under folio 8 recto (D18855), where the church is seen from the harbour.

Matthew Imms
September 2020

1
See Finberg 1909, II, p,651.
2
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.355 no.480, as c.1823, reproduced.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘St Mary and St Eanswythe’s Church, Folkestone, above the Harbour, with the Coast towards Dover in the Distance 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-st-mary-and-st-eanswythes-church-folkestone-above-the-r1202221, accessed 25 May 2024.