Coastal Sunset near Margate

Coastal Sunset near Margate


Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A. (1775-1851)
Coastal Sunset near Margate

Watercolour and bodycolour with touches of chalk on buff paper
10 by 18.9 cm., 4 by 7 ½ in.

Probably Sophia Booth (1798-1875), Margate;
Probably John Ruskin (1819-1900);
Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, 25
th November 1999, lot 156;
With Thos. Agnew & Sons, London, where bought 18
th June 2001;
By descent to the present owner

This belongs to a group of drawings by Turner drawn near Margate and dating from the 1830s. The first owner of this drawing, Sophia Booth, was Turner's companion in his later life. In 1818, she married a fisherman, John Henry Pound, but he drowned in 1821. In 1825, she married John Booth and together they ran a guest house in Margate, where Turner was a regular guest from about 1829. Following the death of John in 1833, Sophia and Turner became close and in 1846 Sophia moved to London, renting a house with Turner in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, where he was known locally as Mr Booth. John Pound, Sophia's son by her first marriage, sold a number of works by Turner at Christie's on 15
th April 1869 - the present watercolour is likely to be one of them. With the proceeds he purchased Haddenham Hall, Buckinghamshire, where Sophia lived until her death.

Other watercolours from this group are in the Victoria and Albert Museum (see Andrew Wilton,
Turner, 1979, nos. 1388-1390), the Courtauld Institute (Wilton, op.cit., nos. 1391-2), the Whitworth Art Gallery (Wilton no.1396), with the largest group in the Bacon Collection (Wilton nos. 1382-87 and 1394). Others are recorded in private collections (no.1393 and 1397) with one location unrecorded (Wilton no.1395). Three in the Victoria and Albert Museum and three in the Bacon collection have been trimmed to the same shape as the present work. For more on this group, see Ed Yardley, Turner Studies, `A Margate Sketchbook Re-assembled?', 1984, vol. 4, no.2, p.53-55.

We are grateful to Peter Bower and Ian Warrell for their comments on this watercolour.