Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscription by Turner: A Draft of Poetry; with a Sketch of the Old Dee Bridge, Chester


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

Graphite on paper
Support: 114 x 191 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXXIX 69

Catalogue entry

Eastcote, historically a village in Middlesex west of Pinner and Harrow, is part of the suburban Hillingdon borough of Greater London, roughly twelve miles west of the centre of the capital. Eastcote House Gardens survive off the High Road, within which is the site of Eastcote House. In its Georgian incarnation the house was demolished in 1962. It had been largely in the hands of the Hawtrey family, although it was let at times in the nineteenth century;1 in relation to either the house or Turner, the significance or standing of ‘Mr Wiggens’, who perhaps wrote his own name and address there along the outer edge of the page before Turner noted a specific appointment, is as yet undetermined.
The upper half of the page is taken up with the following lines of verse in pencil; they are very tentatively transcribed here, and some words might be read differently, although the overall sense is clear:
Where hast thou fled thou [?yellow] Star of Eve
when [...] thy [?light] mild [?beam] of gentle night
and Twylight tho but doubtfull [...] day
as its last c[...]d [?glow] of [...]
– Turning with [?mild] bright [...] ere the
day was set as Suns [...] or dark[...]
There are briefer related passages on folios 3 recto and 4 verso (D22155, D22157), and longer ones on the verso and 71 recto (D22278, D22279; Turner Bequest CCXXXIX 69a, 70), under the last of which their significance is discussed.
At the bottom right is a view of the Old Dee Bridge at Chester; this is a continuation of the view from south of Grosvenor Bridge on folio 67 recto (D22274). The prospect is now obscured by trees. For other views of Chester, see under folio 14 verso (D22176).
In 2013 the page was exhibited by default in a Tate Britain display of figure studies, the focus being the study of a man fishing on folio 69 verso opposite (D18591; Turner Bequest CCXI 42).

Matthew Imms
April 2014

‘Eastcote House Grounds: A Brief History & Tree Guide’, Eastcote Park Estate Asociation, accessed 21 October 2013,

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