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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Full Moon over Water c.1823-6

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
The Full Moon over Water c.1823–6
D40138
Watercolour on white wove paper, 251 x 381 mm
Watermark ‘J Whatman | 1813’
Inscribed in pencil ‘CCLXIII 216’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This elemental, luminous image centred on a reserved full moon over what is presumably the sea is comparable with Shields Lighthouse (Tate D25431; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 308), one of the canonical ‘Little Liber’ watercolours. See also Tate D25305 and D25328 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 183, 206) in the present subsection.
The whole image appears effectively to have been worked in a single blue-grey, much of which has been lifted out in ‘an example of blotting out carried to virtuoso extremes’, as Gerald Wilkinson has put it.1 There is a consistently rippled effect across the sky, perhaps in emulation of the soft middle tones achievable in mezzotint engraving.

The recto is D25338 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 216), a moonlit seascape at dusk.
1
Wilkinson 1975, p.155.
Technical notes:
Except at the top centre, brown stains of what may be glue1 affects large areas of the image at the left, right and bottom.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

1
See ibid.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘The Full Moon over Water 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-water-r1183688, accessed 20 May 2022.