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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Two Boats with Sails Set; with Partial Offset of 'The Straw Yard' from the 'Liber Studiorum' circa 1806-7

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Two Boats with Sails Set; with Partial Offset of ‘The Straw Yard’ from the ‘Liber Studiorum’ circa 1806–7
Turner Bequest CXVI J v
Pencil and ink on off-white wove writing paper, 183 x 260 mm
Inscribed by the artist on sail ‘50’ top centre
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The recto of this sheet is Turner’s watercolour study The Straw Yard for the Liber Studiorum (Tate D08111; Turner Bequest CXVI J). The present, unrelated drawing comprises two diagrammatic pencil sketches of a small boat or boats with jib and main sails set, disrupted by an apparently accidental ink offset of the right-hand section of an impression of Turner’s etching of The Straw Yard,1 the sheet having been placed with the present side down against a newly-printed impression. Turner was possibly comparing the left-hand side of a proof with its watercolour original; the offset implies a careful temporary alignment.
That the sheet was trimmed to the edges of the Liber composition on the recto would appear to imply that the present drawing had been made some time previously and discarded – the smaller boat at the upper right was particularly truncated as a result. This use of the other side of an existing drawing perhaps indicates the provisional status of the Liber project in its early days.
There are two white patches of paper adhering to the centre left and lower right of the sheet where it was formerly stuck down.

Matthew Imms
May 2006

Alexander J. Finberg, The History of Turner’s Liber Studiorum with a New Catalogue Raisonné, London 1924, pp.25–8 no.7, another impression reproduced p.[26].

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Two Boats with Sails Set; with Partial Offset of ‘The Straw Yard’ from the ‘Liber Studiorum’ c.1806–7 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, May 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-two-boats-with-sails-set-with-partial-offset-of-the-straw-r1131713, accessed 21 June 2024.