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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The 'Victory': From Poop to Quarterdeck 1805

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
The ‘Victory’: From Poop to Quarterdeck 1805
Turner Bequest CXX c
Pencil on white wove paper, 469 x 756 mm
Stamped in black ‘CXX c’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
One of two large studies of the deck of the Victory; the other is Tate D08275; Vaughan Bequest CXXI S. Like most of the sketches in the Nelson sketchbook (Tate D05446–D05490; D40701–D40705; D41427; Turner Bequest LXXXIX) these were made when the Victory returned from the Battle of Trafalgar for repair; see Introduction to the sketchbook for her movements. This drawing is further confirmation that Turner went on board soon after she arrived at Long Reach off Sheerness, and before 1 January 1806 when de-rigging began, as her masts and rigging are still in place. However her guns – normally twelve twelve-pounders on the quarterdeck – appear to have been removed already. As in several drawings in the sketchbook, Turner is looking over the starboard side of the poop down to the quarterdeck. The same view appears in Turner’s picture, Battle of Trafalgar, as Seen from the Mizen Starboard Shrouds of the Victory (Tate, N00480), exhibited in Turner’s Gallery, 18061; it overlooks the section of the quarterdeck where Nelson was killed. In the 1974 Royal Academy catalogue, it is wrongly described as ‘from’ the quarterdeck. The drawing shows several figures, unrelated to the picture and perhaps other visitors to the ship. Some appear to be women.
The handling is quick and spontaneous, suggesting a sketch made on the spot, but the sheet is too large to have been used thus without firm support. It bears evidence of having been folded into eight sections.
Butlin and Joll 1984, p.46 no.58 (pl.68)

David Blayney Brown
April 2006

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘The ‘Victory’: From Poop to Quarterdeck 1805 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, April 2006, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-the-victory-from-poop-to-quarterdeck-r1139291, accessed 21 May 2024.