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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Study for 'The Shipwreck' c.1799-1805

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 67 Verso:
Study for ‘The Shipwreck’ c.1799–1805
Turner Bequest LXXXI 132
Black and white chalks on blue laid paper, 436 x 271 mm
Inscribed by Turner in ink ‘Shipwreck’ towards bottom right, ascending vertically
Watermarks ‘1794’ and ‘VI’
Stamped in black ‘LXXXI–132’ top right, 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 68 recto opposite (D05035; Turner Bequest LXXXI 133). It presents the principal elements in Turner’s ambitious painting of 1805, The Shipwreck (Tate N00476):1 the fishing boat sailing to the rescue of passengers floundering in small life–boats, and, beyond, the tangle of spars, rigging and hull that is the wrecked vessel itself. These ideas are further explored on folios 69 verso–70 recto (D05038–D05039; Turner Bequest LXXXI 136–137).
The picture was probably one of the last to receive his attention in this sketchbook; the ideas for it can be seen here growing organically from his thinking about other marine subjects over the previous five years. One of the first studies in this book is also for The Shipwreck, on folio 1 verso (D04903; Turner Bequest LXXXI 2), under which other sketches are noted.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Butlin and Joll 1984, p.43 no.54, pl.64 (colour).

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Study for ‘The Shipwreck’ 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-the-shipwreck-r1178238, accessed 01 March 2021.