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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Vessels and Distant Hills 1818

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 10 Verso:
Vessels and Distant Hills 1818
Turner Bequest CLXVI 10a
Pencil on white wove paper, 90 x 112 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Seven small sailing boats are drawn over two pages with hills and clouds in the distance (folios 10 verso–11; D13468–D13469). The background suggest that these are all different vessels, sailing close to each other in the same direction as if racing or travelling in formation. However, there is likely to be a degree of invention here with just one or a few vessels depicted several times in different positions. Only one of the boats includes a crew, indicated in silhouette.
Above the boats the coastline can be seen with distant hills rising above and merging with clouds; these may be the Grampians to the north, or Pentland Hills to the south of the Firth of Forth, or the coastline of the River Tyne, which Turner also sketched in this book (see folio 13; D13473). There is a thumbnail sketch to the left of this page, drawn with the book turned to the right, of a coastline and hills with a castle on the right, however the drawing is too slight to make identification possible.

Thomas Ardill
August 2009

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘Vessels and Distant Hills 1818 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, August 2009, 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-vessels-and-distant-hills-r1132013, accessed 24 August 2019.