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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner ?Sunset off Margate Pier c.1840-5

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
?Sunset off Margate Pier c.1840–5
Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 231
Watercolour on white wove paper, 257 x 367 mm
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram towards centre right
Inscribed in red ink ‘231’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCCLXIV – 231’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Finberg equivocated as to whether this is a sunset or sunrise subject.1 It has been exhibited as a possible Margate view at sunrise,2 although if the structure on the left is Margate’s stone pier and Droit House and/or the lighthouse, seen from the Great Beach, the view is to the west and may show a summer sunset; compare Tate D24640 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 75).
If recalled from memory or created as a general evocation of such a scene with the topography secondary to the effect, a summer dawn is a possibility even while still evoking Margate, especially given Turner’s propensity for compressing wide, panoramic vistas into a conventionally proportioned composition. For more on the likely Margate setting, see the Introduction to this subsection.
See Finberg 1909, II, p.1191.
See Poznanskaya and others 2008, p.155, and Fan Di’an and others 2009, p.139.
Blank; inscribed by ?John Ruskin in pencil ‘AB 79 P | O’ top left, upside down; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram over ‘CCCLXIV – 231’ bottom right.

Matthew Imms
August 2016

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘?Sunset off Margate Pier c.1840–5 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, August 2016, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2016, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-sunset-off-margate-pier-r1183908, accessed 21 October 2021.