Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Classical Harbour Scene: ?The Return of Chryseis


View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Pen and ink on paper
Support: 150 x 258 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XC 38 a

Catalogue entry

For the various versions in this sketchbook of an ancient seaport with figures embarking or landing, see note to folio 1 (D05491). Of the present example Hill observes: ‘Very Claudian, as many of these studies are, and anticipating the Carthage pictures of a decade later’ – Dido Building Carthage and The Decline of Carthage exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1815 and 1817 (National Gallery, London and Tate N00499).1 However, the composition is a coloured version of the monochrome sketch on folio 34 (D05541) which Turner’s inscription associates with the return of the daughter of Chryses, from Homer’s Iliad.

David Blayney Brown
December 2009

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.94–6 no.131 (pl.133); pp.100–1 no.135 (pl.137).

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