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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Study of a Small Moored Warship 1827

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Study of a Small Moored Warship 1827
Turner Bequest CCXXIV 152
Gouache and pencil on blue wove paper, 141 x 190 mm
Stamped in black ‘CCXXIV – 152’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This is among dozens of blue paper studies presumably made in connection with the Cowes Regatta events in the late summer of 1827; for several other closely observed studies of individual vessels, see the Introduction to this subsection. Here several gunports are evident, and a pale band of paint along the vessel’s side is highlighted. The same ship appears to be shown from the same angle in the background of Cowes Harbour, a finished pencil composition apparently given to a fellow guest at East Cowes Castle in 1827 (private collection);1 it and other drawings outside the Turner Bequest are discussed in the Introduction.
The present sheet is among a handful now identified as Isle of Wight-related subjects which had been categorised in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory in a large section of blue paper ‘Meuse-Moselle’ subjects of about 1826,2 albeit some of which ‘may belong to the “Rivers of France” series, or even to the Italian tour of 1828’;3 it was among many ‘done up in four parcels’ variously labelled by John Ruskin as ‘Scrawls’ and ‘Rubbish’.4
Ian Warrell, Turner: The Fourth Decade: Watercolours 1820–1830, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1991, p.65 no.76, reproduced.
See Finberg 1909, II, pp.692–4, CCXXIV 1–240, ‘Black and white sketches on blue connected with the Meuse-Moselle tour’.
Ibid., p.692.
Ibid., p.693, CCXXIV 35–167; ‘Most of them represent ruined castle on rocks. Among them are probably sketches of ... castles on the Moselle, but I am unable to identify any of them with certainty; among them may be sketches not of the Meuse-Moselle Tour’, with full transcriptions of Ruskin’s numbered labels.
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘52 | O’ bottom right; inscribed in pencil ‘152’ top left, ascending vertically. The first number signifies that the sheet was once in one of Ruskin’s four numbered parcels noted above, in this case of ‘Chalk on grey. Scrawls’.1

Matthew Imms
November 2015

See ibid.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Study of a Small Moored Warship 1827 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, November 2015, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, November 2016, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-study-of-a-small-moored-warship-r1183381, accessed 26 May 2024.