Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscriptions by Turner: Accounts and Words in an Unidentified Script

1817

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: 116 x 185 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D40918

Catalogue entry

At the bottom left, ascending vertically in relation to the executors’ endorsement described below, Turner has noted the following:
 Newcastle       1 
 Ditto           1 
 Wine            1 
 Newcastle Bill  2 
 Durham          1 
These appear to be accounts for some of the expenses of his time in Durham and Northumberland (see the introduction to the tour), and probably indicate the occasions when he broke his pound notes.
At the bottom right, upside down in relation to the executors’ endorsement, are what seem to be two words of a Greek-like script, with an illegible English word underneath the first of these, perhaps either a translation or a note on the source. No transcription is attempted here as the script has yet to be recognised – the two groups of five carefully transcribed characters apparently bear only coincidental resemblances to ancient or modern Greek.1
A note of the book’s original schedule number and contents has been endorsed by Turner’s executors Henry Scott Trimmer, Charles Lock Eastlake and John Prescott Knight, starting towards the top left in ink: ‘No 373 | 56 <[?s]>leaves of slight sketches | H.S Trimmer’; and initialled in pencil ‘C.L.E.’ and ‘JPK’ below.
1
Conversation with Tate Britain Curator Sofia Karamani, August 2009.
Technical notes:
There is some darkening of the paper over the leather overlaps. The overlap at the top has been scored through in parallel bands before the endpaper was pasted down, apparently in anticipation of making integral pencil loops along the edge, but in the event this was done at what is now the back of the book instead (see entry for D40923). There is extensive staining across the inner two-thirds of the page, corresponding largely with that evident on the outside covers, and probably caused by the Tate flood in 1928 (see the note for the front cover, D40917).

Matthew Imms
February 2010

Read full Catalogue entry

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