Lot 380
  • 380

Joseph Mallord William Turner R.A. 1775-1851

bidding is closed


  • Joseph Mallord William Turner R.A.
  • Aldborough, Suffolk
  • watercolour over pencil heightened with bodycolour on blue paper 


John Dillon, his sale Christie's, 29th April 1869, lot 128 (bt. Agnew's);
P.G.B. Westmacott Sale, his Sale Christie's, 10th May 1918, lot 30, as 'Scarborough', (bt Agnew's);
F.W. Smith, 1920;
Mrs M. Smith;
Agnew's, London, 1930;
Thomas Neilson Brown (d. 1934);
by family descent

J.C. Allen, East Coast Project, (unpublished) (R. 308)  



Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, 1979, p. 405,  no. 899;
Eric Shanes, Aldborough, 1990, p.153, no. 125

Catalogue Note

On the right Turner depicts a beached brig unloading its cargo, while on the left is the Martello tower at Slaughden and in the distance is Aldborough, with the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul dominating its skyline.   

The present work is thought to date from the late 1820’s. The survival of the 1824 Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex Sketch-Book, Turner Bequest, Tate Gallery, indicates that Turner was working in the area at that date. A sketch on page 56 depicts the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul and proves that he had visited Aldborough during this tour. Although the watercolour clearly relates to the 1824 sketch-book, it is a watercolour completed some years later.

Two theory’s have emerged regarding it's exact place in Turner’s career. Eric Shane’s in his book Turner’s England suggests that the work was executed as part of the so-called ‘East Coast Project’. This was a series of ten views, which were engraved by J. C. Allen and published by Turner himself. Dr. Jan Piggott has taken a contrary view, believing that the drawings were used to illustrate poems by George Crabbe. This project was never published but was to include views of the East Anglian coast.

Working with bodycolour, Turner, has produced a dramatic image. Eric Shanes, interestingly, notes that Turner has used a dab of ‘schweinfurt or emerald green’ which was a colour which only became easily available in the mid 1820’s.