View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
[from] The Turner Gallery pub.1859–75 [T05194-T05196; complete]
Two etchings and one line-engraving, comprising three subjects out of a total of sixty-seven; various papers and sizes
Purchased (Grant-in-Aid) 1988
Prov: ...; N.W. Lott and H.J. Gerrish Ltd, from whom bt by Tate Gallery (earlier provenance given in individual entries where known)
Lit: Lyles and Perkins 1989, pp.79–80; Herrmann 1990, pp.244–5
The Turner Gallery, which first appeared several years after the artist's death, was a series of engravings after some of Turner's most popular images, comprising reproductions of a broad selection of oil paintings and a few watercolours. Many of the plates, particularly those after Turner's oil paintings, were new and were thus unsupervised by Turner's hand; others had been executed for earlier series and were reworked for the Turner Gallery.
The series first appeared in parts, published by James S. Virtue, between 1859 and 1861. The plates were accompanied by texts written by Ralph Nicholson Wornum, the Keeper of the National Gallery at that date. Originally there were sixty plates, most of which were engraved on steel by engravers who had been active in producing prints after Turner's work while he was alive. Thus the standard remained high and Rawlinson concedes that in the original edition ‘many plates are of great beauty’ (II 1913, p.356).
The Turner Gallery reappeared in numerous and confusing guises throughout the rest of the century. It was reissued in 1875 by Chatto and Windus, also with a text by Wornum. Rawlinson states that the plates for this edition was also of a high standard since, according to the publishers, ‘the impressions were for the first time printed from the original plates, electrotypes having been used for the Original Edition’. Some of the plates from the original edition were replaced by others which had previously appeared in the Art Journal or the Vernon Gallery. Rawlinson states, however, that the total number of sixty plates remained the same, although there were, in fact, sixty-one plates if the frontispiece of Turner's ‘Self-Portrait’ is included.
Rawlinson is particularly scathing about the later editions: ‘Unfortunately the publishers continued to print and reprint impressions long after they had lost their beauty. They added moreover to the original sixty subjects about sixty others ... the copper-plates of which had been worn out many years before ... Some of these worthless “Reprint” editions appeared as recently as 1880–90’. One later edition of about 1878(?) was published in three volumes by Virtue and contained 120 plates, the additional ones being reprints of engravings after watercolours made for the Southern Coast (see T04370-T04427), History of Richmondshire (see T04439-T04484) and the Ports of England (see T04822-T04837). The text for this edition was provided by W. Cosmo Monkhouse.
Rawlinson only lists sixty-seven plates for the series (his nos.690–750a), omitting those added in the later editions. Unlike other series, he does not catalogue the individual prints in full or give details of their states, but simply lists the various issues of The Turner Gallery, thus making it difficult to ascertain the exact state of an impression. However, as two of the plates in this group are preliminary etchings and the other is a touched proof of a plate that did not appear in the 1875 edition, it is clear that all three impressions must have been intended for the original edition of 1859–61.
Neither of the engravers of these three plates, James Charles Armytage (1802–97) and Arthur Willmore (1814–88), belonged to the ‘Turner School’ of engravers. Armytage, although a prolific engraver of other artists' work, had only produced four plates after Turner during the artist's lifetime, while the three plates executed for the series by Arthur Willmore, brother of James Tibbetts Willmore (see T05189), were the first and only ones that he engraved after Turner.
T05195 View of Cologne from the River engr. A. Willmore
Etching 192 × 265 (7 9/16 × 10 7/16) on wove paper 297 × 440 (11 11/16 × 17 5/16); trimmed within plate-mark
Lit: Rawlinson II 1913, no.712, etching (not listed)
Etching of plate published 1859. Original watercolour: Seattle Art Museum, Washington (Wilton 1979, no.690).
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986-88, London 1996