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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Study for 'Calais Pier, with French Poissards Preparing for Sea: An English Packet Arriving' c.1802

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 52 Verso:
Study for ‘Calais Pier, with French Poissards Preparing for Sea: An English Packet Arriving’ c.1802
D05004
Turner Bequest LXXXI 102
Black and white chalks on blue laid paper, 436 x 271 mm
Watermarks ‘1794’ and Strasburg lily
Inscribed along right edge, in pen and black ink ‘Calais Pier’; and along lower right edge, in brown ink, with a row of pot–hooks
Stamped in black ‘LXXXI–102’ top left, upside down
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the subject is continued on folio 53 recto opposite (D05005; Turner Bequest LXXXI 103), which was already half torn away, so that the study was of necessity continued on the next page again, folio 54 recto (D05007; Turner Bequest LXXXI 105).
Another study for the painting, Calais Pier, with French Poissards Preparing for Sea: An English Packet Arriving, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1803 (National Gallery, London),1 is on folios 30 verso–31 recto (D04960–D04961; Turner Bequest LXXXI 58–59). The present drawing includes the principal elements of the large canvas: the packet boat is seen clearly in view to the left, in the centre the fishing boat puts off from the pier, which creates a firm perspective receding into the picture space on the extreme right.
The final design is more complicated, however: most importantly the centre of the space is occupied by a boat with a white sail that intervenes between the packet boat and the fishing boat in the foreground. This white–sailed boat partly obscures the packet, creating the kind of visual confusion that Turner relished; compare folios 48 verso–49 recto (D04996–D04997; Turner Bequest LXXXI 94–95), and see folios 74 verso and 77 recto (D05048, D05053; Turner Bequest LXXXI 146, 151).

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

1
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.37–8 no.48, pl.58 (colour).

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Study for ‘Calais Pier, with French Poissards Preparing for Sea: An English Packet Arriving’ c.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-study-for-calais-pier-with-french-poissards-preparing-for-r1178208, accessed 28 November 2021.