Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscriptions by Turner: Monogram-Style Signatures; with ?Diagrams

c.1813

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 113 x 88 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D40813

Catalogue entry

As with the single rendering of his name on the recto of folio 68, the last leaf in the sketchbook (D09985), Turner’s prominent inscriptions appear to be doodles interlinking the letters of his surname in a curlicued semi-monogram, mostly with the vertical stroke of the ‘T’ held within the ‘U’, and the ‘E’ and ‘R’ combined. The playfulness of the exercise is emphasised by the scrolls drawn in round the teeth securing the cover’s clasp at the top centre, and the intermittent outlining of the irregular edge of the cover’s leather overlaps, visible through this endpaper.
There are also curves and more complex forms indicated in pencil, but their function is unclear. They may be one or more maps or plans, or another form of diagram. Finberg makes no mention of the page in his 1909 Inventory.1

Matthew Imms
April 2014

1
See A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.I, p.384.

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