Joseph Mallord William Turner

‘List of Drawings in different Portfolios’ (Inscription by Turner)


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Support: 110 x 178 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXIX 8

Catalogue entry

Written from left to right down the page, Turner’s list is as follows:
List of Drawings in Different Portfolios
No. {59 Mounted old Drawings
   1   {16 Sketches by Rooker
        {36 unmounted Ditto. Hamilton
        {19 Academy figure by Ryley RA
  2    {3 Mine of shipping
   {6 Blue paper Ditto
        {5 Shipping
  3    {Rubbish contained
        {Drawing by Hoppner
        {Sketches of cattle by Gilpin
  4    {Warfdale
        {Drawings and prints of Liber Studiorum’
The portfolios are presumably Turner’s, but it is not clear what might be the occasion of this list. In any case the list is interesting for its indication of some of the source materials that Turner could refer to in his own work at this time.
‘Rooker’ is Michelangelo Rooker (1746–1801). As a young man, Turner studied his work at an informal ‘academy’ run by Dr Thomas Monro at his home in Aldelphi Terrace, London.
‘Hamilton’ is William Hamilton (1751–1801) a well-known portrait, figure and history specialist, particularly known for his work for the Shakespeare Gallery, and for theatrical subjects
‘Ryley RA’ is, as Finberg noted, Charles Reuben Ryley (1752–1798), at whose posthumous sale at Christie’s, 15 November 1798, Turner bought drawings, some of which have descended in his family (private collection).1 Tate has one very lively example of Ryley’s drawing, Three Recumbent Men in Tricorne Hats from the Oppé collection (T10356).
‘Hoppner’ is John Hoppner (1758–1810), a well-established portrait painter, with whom Turner had a good deal of contact during his early career.2
‘Gilpin’ is Sawrey Gilpin (1733–1807), with whom Turner collaborated in at least two watercolours: Sunny Morning – the Cattle by S Gilpin R.A. (untraced)3 exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1799 and Windsor Park, with Horses by the late Sawrey Gilpin, Esq. (generally thought to be Tate D04158; Turner Bequest LXX G)4 exhibited at the Academy in 1811.
Gage 1969, pp.60, 238 note 29; David Blayney Brown and Rosalind Mallord Turner, Turner’s Gallery, House and Library, exhibition catalogue, Tate Britain, London 2001 [p.10].
Mordechai Omer, ‘Hoppner, John’, in Evelyn Joll, Martin Butlin and Luke Herrmann (eds.), The Oxford Companion to J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 2001, p 144.
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, p.327 no. 251.
Ibid., pp.346–7 no. 414.

David Hill
October 2008

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