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    Sale 11787

    Old Master & British Drawings

    5 July 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 93

    Charles Turner, A.R.A. (Woodstock 1774-1857 London), after Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A. (London 1775-1851)

    A Shipwreck with Boats Endeavouring to Save the Crew

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Charles Turner, A.R.A. (Woodstock 1774-1857 London), after Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A. (London 1775-1851)
    A Shipwreck with Boats Endeavouring to Save the Crew
    Mezzotint, with graphite and watercolour
    22 5/8 x 32 ¼ x (57.5 x 81.9 cm.)


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    Turner’s depiction of the aftermath of a shipwreck in the large picture of 1805 (Tate Britain) remains one of his most intensely dramatic images, epitomizing his achievements as a marine painter. Our empathy is powerfully engaged by the representation of human suffering, but the sensation is considerably heightened by the vivid and boldly painted recreation of the sea in motion.

    Soon after it was first exhibited Turner was approached by a former classmate at the Royal Academy schools, Charles Turner (not a relative), who proposed engraving the image in mezzotint. Financial support was sought and secured through a prospectus, which attracted an impressive array of Turner’s early patrons. In the meantime the painting had been reserved for Sir John Leicester, the foremost collector of contemporary British art. Fortunately, permission was obtained from him for the engraving process to take place before he formerly took ownership of the canvas.

    In addition to the standard mezzotint, the two Turners planned a limited number of coloured impressions. Although the contract gave J.M.W. Turner the right to buy proofs for this purpose, it is unlikely (as Anne Lyles has outlined) that the colours were actually applied by the artist himself. Instead a highly-skilled specialist printer would have prepared a single plate to print from, based on a maquette coloured to Turner’s satisfaction.

    Impressions of the standard mezzotint format are rare, but very few examples of this coloured state survive in such good condition.

    We are grateful to Ian Warrell for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that the medium for this work is coloured mezzotint and not as stated in the printed catalogue.


    Literature

    A. Whitman, Charles Turner, London, 1907, no. 862.
    W.G. Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, II, London, 1913, p. 362, no. 751.
    A. Lyles and D. Perkins, Colour into Line: Turner and the Art of Engraving, London, 1989, pp. 42-3, no. 29, illustrated p. 20.
    P. Spencer-Longhurst, The Sun Rising Through Vapour: Turner’s Early Seascapes, Birmingham, 2003, p. 63, no. 24
    E. Shanes, Young Mr Turner. The First Forty Years: 1775-1815, London, 2016, pp. 266, 281, 286, 362.