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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Study for a Sea Piece, with Small Boats in Choppy Water c.1799-1805

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 50 Verso:
Study for a Sea Piece, with Small Boats in Choppy Water c.1799–1805
Turner Bequest LXXXI 98
Black and white chalks and ink on blue laid paper, 436 x 271 mm
Watermarks ‘1794’ and ‘VI’
Inscribed by Turner in ink ‘Study not painted 1805’ centre left, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘LXXXI–98’ bottom left
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The subject is continued on folio 51 recto opposite (D05001; Turner Bequest LXXXI 99). Compare the drawings on folios 46 verso–47 recto and 47 verso–48 recto (D04992–D04995; Turner Bequest LXXXI 90–91, 92–93). As the entries for those works suggest, this idea, unused by 1805, was taken up in a picture exhibited in Turner’s own gallery in 1807, Sheerness and the Isle of Sheppey, with the Junction of the Thames and the Medway from the Nore (National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC).1 The boat in breakers that is the focus of Fishermen upon a Lee–Shore, in Squally Weather, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1802 (Southampton Art Gallery),2 is one of several elements in the new composition.
The inscription on this page, with those on folios 44 verso and 48 verso (D04988, D04996; Turner Bequest LXXXI 86, 94), gives a date for all the annotations in this sketchbook, which seem to have been added at the same time in the same pen, and suggest the terminus ante quem for the whole.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.49–50 no.62, pl.73.
Ibid., pp.15–16 no.16, pl.12 (colour).

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Study for a Sea Piece, with Small Boats in Choppy Water c.1799–1805 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-study-for-a-sea-piece-with-small-boats-in-choppy-water-r1178204, accessed 03 December 2021.