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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Full Moon over the Sea, from a Beach c.1823-6

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
The Full Moon over the Sea, from a Beach c.1823–6
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 206
Watercolour on white wove paper, 268 x 377 mm
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram towards bottom right
Inscribed in pencil ‘CCLXIII 206’ towards bottom right
Inscribed in red ink ‘206’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCLXIII – 206’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Ian Warrell has associated this composition with the ‘Little Liber’;1 the elemental, luminous image is comparable with Shields Lighthouse (Tate D25431; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 308), one of the canonical watercolours engraved for the series. See also Tate D25305 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 183) and D40138 in the present subsection.
Loose pencil marks presumably indicate waves, although the sea is barely developed except where a vertical strip of colour has been lifted to indicate the path of the moon’s reflection. The washes of the sky have been extensively worked while wet with the colour lifted in small rounded patches, perhaps using the fingertips, to suggest a halo of light, fluffy clouds around the moon, intensifying its brightness.
See Warrell 2002, p,64, and Warrell 2003, pp.70, 147.
Technical notes:
Finberg noted: ‘Left-hand corner torn’.1 A diagonal line is evident at the bottom left, where the corner has been replaced with similar paper and lightly washed to match Turner’s work inconspicuously at this point.
Finberg 1909, II, p.830.
Blank; not available for inspection at time of writing.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘The Full Moon over the Sea, from a Beach c.1823–6 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, September 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-the-full-moon-over-the-sea-from-a-beach-r1183686, accessed 24 May 2024.