Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Group of Figures in a Storm: Study for a Historical Composition

1799

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 79 x 130 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D02120
Turner Bequest XLVI 83

Catalogue entry

Like other drawings in this book, this sketch, made with the page turned horizontally, no doubt relates to historical subjects Turner was mulling over at this time. The combination of figures with a violent storm suggests the Biblical subject of The Army of the Medes destroyed in the Desart by a Whirlwind1 which Turner exhibited in 1801; it is now lost, possibly painted over with another subject. Another possible subject is the destruction of Pharoah’s host in the Red Sea, which may be the subject of a separate sheet (Tate D08205; Turner Bequest CXIX R), although he is not known ever to have completed a picture on that theme.
1
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.13–15 no.15.
Verso:
Blank; washed with a very pale grey ground.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Read full Catalogue entry

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