Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Floor Plan of Two Rooms; ?A Figure or Figures


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 87 x 117 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXIV 1

Catalogue entry

The following account is inscribed in ink at the top of the page:
                       113 [?Arang] Arranging Committee 
1100 ..                560 cost of Catalogue 
Total Expenditure      4000 
Total .......... 
This perhaps relates to one of the Royal Academy’s annual exhibitions, then held at Somerset House, London; having been elected an Associate in 1799 and a full Royal Academician in 1802, Turner was often involved in its business.1
Below, the left half of the page is taken up with a diagram, apparently the floor plan of two rectangular rooms side by side, with measurements, presumably in feet, making them domestic in scale: ‘15’ and 20 [...]’ in the left-hand space, respectively upside down and ascending vertically, and ‘14’ and ‘17’ in the right-hand space, the first of which is ascending vertically.
The plan is drawn over some faint, irregular forms, possibly of a figure or figures; they may relate to the almost indecipherable erotic drawing on the verso of the present leaf (D40812) and a more obvious subject on folio 2 recto (D07961).
See Eric Shanes, ‘Royal Academy of Arts, London’ in Evelyn Joll, Martin Butlin and Luke Herrmann (eds.), The Oxford Companion to J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 2001, pp.270–2.
Technical notes:
There is abrasion to the centre of the right-hand (outer) edge through contact with the brass clasp at the corresponding point inside the front cover opposite (D07958).

Matthew Imms
January 2012

Read full Catalogue entry

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