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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Two Boats at Sea near Wimereux 1845

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Two Boats at Sea near Wimereux 1845
Turner Bequest CCCLVII 4
Pencil and watercolour on white wove paper, 238 x 336 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘M[a]y 45’ towards bottom left and ‘Vim’ towards bottom right
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘4’ bottom right
Blind stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCCLVII 4’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
In this sketch, a burst of yellow sunshine out at sea breaks through leaden clouds to frame two small fishing boats. This compositional device also features in the preceding and following sketches as originally constituted in the sketchbook (D35388, D35390; CCCLVII 3, 5). Towards the bottom right, the inscription ‘Vim’, Turner’s phonetic abbreviation of Wimereux, locates the scene three miles north up the coast from Boulogne near the former naval garrison of that name. Small-scale fishing had become the main industry of this now ‘sorry hamlet’ as its military-strategic importance declined during the post-Napoleonic peace with Great Britain.1 With unusual exactness Turner’s inscription dated this sketch to May 1845.
J. Brunet, New Guide to Boulogne-sur-Mer, 3rd ed., Boulogne 1840, p.131.
Blank, except for two small patches of grey-blue watercolour.

John Chu
December 2013

How to cite

John Chu, ‘Two Boats at Sea near Wimereux 1845 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, December 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, April 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-two-boats-at-sea-near-wimereux-r1173488, accessed 07 December 2021.