Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 43 Verso:
Apollo and Python 1802–11
Turner Bequest LXXVII 43a
Turner Bequest LXXVII 43a
Pencil on white wove paper, 154 x 240 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner 1775–1851, Royal Academy of Arts, London, November 1974–March 1975 (92, with folio 44, D04788, as ‘Two studies for Pictures’).
Painting & Poetry: Turner’s ‘Verse Book’ and his Work of 1804–12, Tate Gallery, London, June–September 1990 (8, with folio 44, D04788, as ‘Studies for “Apollo and Python” and another work (?“Jason”)’).
William Turner: Licht und Farbe, Museum Folkwang, Essen, September 2001–January 2002, Kunsthaus Zurich, February–May 2002 (33, with folio 44, D04788, reproduced in colour, as ‘Studien zum Bild “Apollo und Python”’).
A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.I, p.208, LXXVII 43a, as ‘Study for “Apollo and Python”’.
Gerald Wilkinson, The Sketches of Turner R.A. 1802–20: Genius of the Romantic, London 1974, p.52 reproduced.
Evelyn Joll and Martin Butlin, L’Opera Completa di Turner1793–1829, Milan 1982, p.82.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.82.
Kathleen Nicholson, Turner’s Classical Landscape. Myth and Meaning, Princeton 1990, pp.60, 73 note 26, 86, 88 note 21.
Andrew Wilton and Rosalind Mallord Turner, Painting & Poetry: Turner’s ‘Verse Book’ and his Work of 1804–12, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1990, p.175, reproduced.
Andrew Wilton, Inge Bodesohn-Vogel and Helena Robinson, William Turner: Licht und Farbe, exhibition catalogue, Museum Folkwang, Essen 2001, pp.96 reproduced in colour, 287–8.
Ruskin’s note notwithstanding, only the present drawing is certainly a composition study for Apollo and Python exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1811 (Tate N00488).1 Butlin and Joll suggest that the picture could have been painted ‘considerably earlier’ on technical grounds, and drawings of the subject or variants of it occur as early as in the Calais Pier sketchbook (Tate D04970, D04971; Turner Bequest LXXXI 68, 69). This sketch might be roughly contemporary with the majority of the drawings in the present book, or alternatively with two studies for the figure of Apollo in the Studies for Pictures: Isleworth sketchbook of about 1805 (Tate D05494; Turner Bequest XC 3), and another variant sketch in the contemporaneous Hesperides (1) sketchbook (Tate D05813; Turner Bequest XCIII 28a). See Introduction to this sketchbook for further comment on the dating of the historical studies.
Butlin and Joll 1984, p.82 no.115 (pl.119).
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