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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Twilight over the Waters c.1823-6

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Twilight over the Waters c.1823–6
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 216
Watercolour on white wove paper, 251 x 381 mm
Watermark ‘J Whatman | 1813’
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram towards bottom right
Inscribed in red ink ‘216’ bottom right (faint)
Stamped in black ‘CCLXIII – 216’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Finberg’s poetic, somewhat biblical, title1 has been retained for this scene of an empty sea in the afterglow of sunset, with a reserved new moon on the left casting a speckled reflection on the waves below. Among the canonical ‘Little Liber’ watercolours, compare particularly St Michael’s Mount (Tate D25434; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 311).
It is unclear whether the pale irregular form over the horizon on the left represents a bank of mist or the beginnings of a headland. Eric Shanes has tentatively suggested the Bay of Naples as a potential setting.2
The verso, a moonlight subject, is D40138.
Finberg 1909, II, p.831.
Shanes 1997, p.98.
Technical notes:
Except at the top centre, brown stains and mottled streaks of what may be glue1 affect much of the image.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

See Wilkinson 1975, p.155.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Twilight over the Waters 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-twilight-over-the-waters-r1183687, accessed 24 May 2024.