Joseph Mallord William Turner

Accounts; and a Sketch

1830–1

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: 74 x 94 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25643
Turner Bequest CCLXIV 64 a

Catalogue entry

Turner’s black ink inscriptions on this page, made with the book turned to the right, refer to dates in the autumn of 1830, and assuming that they were not made nearly a year after that, they suggest that this sketchbook was first in use in late 1830 or early 1831. Turner also used the sketchbook for practice or research relating to the life drawing class at the Royal Academy before he took it on tour in 1831 (see folio 3 verso; D25529). The figures are likely to be cheque numbers (15840, 19604, 19605, 19606 [or ‘8’], 1637) with their amount (19, 100, 500 guineas) and dates (4 October, 22 October and 30 August). The inscription is transcribed below.
19 – 15840 – 4 Oct. 1830
100 19604 23 Oct. 1830
5
6
500 1637 – 30 aug. 1830
Beneath the inscriptions, drawn in pencil and with the sketchbook inverted from its usual orientation, are a series of serpentine lines and scribbles. Finberg has interpreted these are trees,1 though they could equally represent flames or smoke.

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

1
Finberg 1909, II, 849.

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