Joseph Mallord William Turner

Landscape with Diana and Actaeon

1805

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Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Dimensions
Support: 117 x 182 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D06213
Turner Bequest XCVIII 23

Catalogue entry

One of two variants of this composition in this sketchbook; the second follows on folio 24 (D06214). Hill’s identification of the subject as Diana and Actaeon is convincing. For other themes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses drawn by Turner around the same time, see the contemporary Hesperides (2) sketchbook (Tate D06865–D05869; Turner Bequest XCIV 13–17). However, there is a possibility that Turner’s ideas for Diana and Actaeon overlapped with those for his picture The Goddess of Discord Choosing the Apple of Contention in the Garden of the Hesperides exhibited in 1806 (Tate N00477).1 Hill also compares the landscape composition on folio 24 in the present book to sketches associated with that picture in another contemporary sketchbook, Hesperides (1).2 One of them (Tate D05821; Turner Bequest XCIII 32a), while probably mainly connected with the picture in its general arrangement, also seems to contain a stag torn apart by hounds and was thought to be of Diana and Actaeon by Finberg and by Kathleen Nicholson.3 In the present drawing, a figure on the left is clearly drawing a bow but in folio 24 the action is less explicit.
1
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.44–6 no.57 (pl.67).
2
Hill 1993, p.168.
3
Kathleen Nicholson, Turner’s Classical Landscapes: Myth and Meaning, Princeton 1990, p.165; and for Ovidian subjects generally, pp.144–218.
Verso:
Blank

David Blayney Brown
July 2008

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