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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

On a Lee Shore (1) sketchbook c.1801–2

Turner Bequest LXVII 1–8
Sketchbook without surviving original wrappers, bound in recent brown paper covers with a front flyleaf
8 leaves of white wove paper prepared with a blue-grey wash; page size 118 x 182 mm; watermark ‘Hayes & Wise | 1799’
Probably made up by Turner (see main catalogue entry)
Inscribed by Turner in brown ink ‘104’ on a vellum label glued round folio 1 recto (D03974) and the verso of folio 8 (D03984)
Numbered 171 as part of the Turner Schedule in 1854, and endorsed by the Executors of the Turner Bequest on the verso of folio 1 (D03974)
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Finberg dated the two On a Lee Shore books (see also On a Lee Shore (2); Tate; Turner Bequest XLVIII) to 1800–2, but it is clear that all the drawings on their total of sixteen leaves were executed at much the same time, which was in all probability the moment when Turner was contemplating ideas for the picture that became Fishermen upon a Lee-Shore, in Squally Weather, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1802 (Southampton Art Gallery).1 Several studies for that picture, annotated by Turner ‘Lee Shore’, are in the much larger Calais Pier sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest LXXXI). It is most likely that these two improvised Lee Shore books were used on a single occasion when Turner was able to study the sea in rough conditions, perhaps at Margate.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll do not associate the finished picture directly with any of these sketches,2 but their overall similarity of theme, implicit in the titles Finberg gave the books, and noted by Luke Herrmann,3 and by Ann Chumbley and Ian Warrell,4 argues strongly for a link. There may also be a connection between such studies as that on folio 1 recto (D03974) and the painting Ships Bearing up for Anchorage (‘The Egremont Seapiece’; Tate T03868, displayed at Petworth House, West Sussex).5 The principal difference between the two books is that whereas the present one contains rapid outline sketches in ink with some pencil underdrawing, Lee Shore (2) has more substantial, worked up images, making use of wash and scraping-out.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.15–16 no.16, pl.12 (colour).
See ibid., p.15.
See Herrmann 1981, p.6.
See Ann Chumbley and Ian Warrell, Turner and the Human Figure: Studies of Contemporary Life, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1989, p.57 under no.68.
Butlin and Joll 1984, p.17 no.18, pl.14 (colour).

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Revised by Matthew Imms
April 2015

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How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘On a Lee Shore (1) sketchbook c.1801–2’, sketchbook, May 2013, revised by Matthew Imms, April 2015, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, April 2016, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/on-a-lee-shore-1-sketchbook-r1178277, accessed 23 January 2022.