Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Wooded River Scene with a Figure; Inscription by Turner: Notes

c.1834–6

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 79 x 101 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D27771
Turner Bequest CCLXXXI 25

Catalogue entry

There are numerous unidentified landscapes in this sketchbook, as set out in the Introduction. This one, inverted relative to the foliation, seems to be a riverside scene, perhaps with the sun reflected in the still water to the right of the centre, and a figure silhouetted towards the left. Some may have been recorded in the vicinity of the scenes of fishing at a weir which begin on folio 15 verso (D27752).
The other way up, Turner has filled the rest of the page with four lines of scrawled pencil notes, which appear to be prose rather than one of his by now only occasional drafts of poetry. Even then with reservations, Finberg could only make out ‘led on the vanward’,1 the first few words of the second line, the last of which might more probably be ‘vanguard’. Turner’s hand here is so difficult to make out as to be effectively illegible except for isolated letters and the most common words, such as ‘the’ and ‘and’. There is a possibility that the first line may end with ‘army’, preceded by a word beginning with ‘E’, while the very last word is underlined and may be ‘danger’; such fragments suggest a description of some kind of military engagement. There are various other notes scattered through the book; see the Introduction.

Matthew Imms
April 2014

1
Finberg 1909, II, p.907.

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