Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscription by Turner: Meteorological Terms

c.1799

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

Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 130 x 79 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D40770

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, over half the page is taken up with the following notes in pencil:
Twyligh[t] Sun [?rise]
Clear Bright
D Rain Bow [?P] Rain Red
Crimson d Hazy
Dewy [?Dy morn]
6 Cloudy after Rain
Midday Fog
[?Rain] Gather[?ing] after [?Fog]
Showery with [?w/ rise]
Squall [?Gathering]
Storm Gathering
Breaking [up]
Sunney [sic] Tranquil
The systematic listing of climatic effects here bears a close resemblance to one of the many compilations of pictorial elements assembled by the artist and theorist Alexander Cozens (1717–1786). The list in question appears in a sequence entitled ‘Various Species of Landscape &c. in Nature’; it is labelled ‘Circumstances’ and duplicates Turner’s in several respects.1 The document was transcribed by the artist John Constable (1776–1837) from a copy belonging to his patron Sir George Beaumont (1753–1837),2 and although few examples of the sheet have survived it was clearly of interest to artists of Turner’s generation.
The titles of Turner’s exhibited works from these years demonstrate a strong concern for the depiction of weather conditions and effects of light at different times of day.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

1
The printed list, among the Grimston Papers in Humberside County Record Office, is reproduced in Kim Sloan, Alexander and John Robert Cozens: The Poetry of Landscape, exhibition catalogue, Victoria and Albert Museum, London 1986, p.54.
2
See ibid., p.53 onwards.

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