In his last years Turner spent time in Margate with Mrs Booth, his companion. He studied the Margate coastline at many different times of day and weather conditions, creating many works in oil or watercolour. This particular study looks across the sand to the Margate harbour. The rough waves and grey sky above the sea contrast with the golden sky above Margate.
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Waves Breaking on a Lee Shore at Margate (Study for 'Rockets and Blue Lights')
59.7 x 95.2 cm
Date of work
Oil paint on canvas 59.7 x 95.2 cm
Joseph Mallord William Turner was born in London; he remained a Londoner and kept a Cockney accent all his life despite dominating British landscape painting throughout the first half of the 19th century. He established a reputation in the Royal Academy, first as a topographical watercolourist and then within a few years as a painter of sublime and historical landscapes. From the mid-1790s he settled on the routine he maintained for much of his life: touring in summer and working in the studio in the winter months. He opened his own gallery and had many patrons and admirers as well as detractors. After his death a large body of his works in oil and watercolour was given to the British nation, with many on show at Tate Britain.