Joseph Mallord William Turner
Landscape with the Commencement of an Eclipse 1804

Artwork details

Landscape with the Commencement of an Eclipse
From Eclipse Sketchbook
Turner Bequest LXXXV
Date 1804
Medium Black and white chalk on white wove paper prepared with a slatey brown wash
Dimensions Support: 166 x 112 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXXV 1 a
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Display caption

Turner used this book only to record the passing of an eclipse. As on this page opening, most of the sketches include the same building on the left-hand side, which acts as an unchanging frame for the transient effects occurring overhead. In this study the eclipse has only just begun, so that only the lower half of the sun is obscured. It has been assumed that Turner witnessed this effect in England, and this has suggested that the most likely date for the eclipse was 11 February 1804. However, a partial eclipse was also visible while he was travelling in France and Switzerland in 1802.

September 1995

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