Now that the exhibition “Turner and the Elements” has been on at The Turner Contemporary for a while, I am starting to get some reaction from people who have been to the exhibition.
To be honest quite a few people I have spoken to didn’t get quite what they expected, I don’t think they expected so many of the Turner paintings to be quite so, well, modern.
Obviously no one wants to be caught criticising Joseph Mallord William Turner, but some of the people I have spoken to, found some of the paintings a bit difficult to relate to.
One picture that no one had much difficulty with is the one above, so I thought if I explained the background to this picture it would perhaps be of some help.
All the pictures here are from The Tate Gallery website http://www.tate.org.uk/ and my description is based on a visual analysis and not on an in depth biographical or art history study.
Around 1815 Turner visited Ramsgate and made a number of sketches of Ramsgate several of which were drawn from a boat seaward of the harbour entrance.
The picture at the top was produced for a book by Turner called The Ports of England, the only copy I know of is in Bodleian, see http://solo.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/primo_library/libweb/action/display.do?dscnt=1&elementId=0&recIdxs=0&frbrVersion=&tab=local&dstmp=1328980180173&srt=rank&mode=Basic&indx=1&tb=t&fromLogin=true&renderMode=poppedOut&vl(freeText0)=ports+of+england+turner&fn=search&vid=OXVU1&frbg=&displayMode=full&ct=display&dum=true&recIds=oxfaleph014239066&doc=oxfaleph014239066&go.x=0&go=Search&go.y=0&tabs=detailsTab&fromLogin=true
This book was published in 1826 and the painting at the top is said to date from 1824, so Turner would have probably used his sketches made about ten years before, to get the thing to look right.
Before he did the painting for publication he did at least one preliminary watercolour sketch.
After the watercolour painting was finished it was sent to Thomas Lupton the engraver, who engraved the image onto a printing plate for the book.