Scene on the French Coast

Joseph Mallord William Turner, Published on 20 January 1807

WAG 4477

About this object

This print, 'Scene on the French Coast', is plate 4 of Turner's 'Liber Studiorum' series. It is an example of the 'Marine' category of landscape painting. It was published with the 1st part of the series on 20 January 1807.

The writer John Ruskin (1819-1900) originally identified this scene as a view of Flint Castle, North Wales. Other observers have noted that the two castles do not look alike and it is now thought to be a view from the French coast.

Turner considered sea views to be part of the landscape tradition. He made this type of landscape his own more than any other.

The 'Liber Studiorum' illustrated Turner’s arguments for the supremacy of landscape painting. The title means ‘book of studies’ in Latin. It contained no written text, instead it was made up of individual mezzotint prints on paper. They were released in fourteen parts from around 1807 until 1819. Turner intended the 'Liber' to consist of 100 prints but only 71 were ultimately produced.

The prints reflected the five categories of landscape painting Turner believed existed: architectural, historical, marine, mountainous and pastoral. Turner wrote an initial on each work to indicate which category it belonged to.

Object specifics

  • Other title(s)
    Flint Castle, Vessels Unloading
  • Artist(s)
    Charles Turner (British, born:31 July 1774, died:01 August 1857)
    Joseph Mallord William Turner (British: English, born:probably 23 April 1775, died:19 December 1851)
  • Date
    Published on 20 January 1807
  • Materials
    Mezzotint; Paper
  • Measurements
    image: 18.3 cm x 26 cm
  • Physical description
    A scene of vessels being unloaded on the shore. Two smack boats in shallow water on the right, men with carts on the left. More vessels are grouped in the middle distance with a castle on the horizon and sloping hills on the left.
  • Related people
    Charles Turner (Artist/maker, engraver); Joseph Mallord William Turner (Artist/maker)
  • Other number(s)
    WAG Inventory Number: 4477
  • Credit line
    Purchased by the Walker Art Gallery in 1874
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Collection
    From the Walker Art Gallery collections


Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: M
    Inscription method: Printed
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Above plate
Object view = Fine Art
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