Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Paestum circa 1823–6
Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 224
Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 224
Pencil and watercolour on white wove paper, 214 x 308 mm
Stamped in black ‘CCCLXIV – 2 2 4’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCCLXIV – 2 2 4’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Oxford Loan Collection, University Galleries, Oxford, 1878–1909 or later (148; renumbered 21, as ‘Paestum in Storm. Study for engraving’).
Aquarelles de Turner, oeuvres de Blake/Englischen Graphiken und Aquarellen: W. Blake und J.M.W. Turner, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, January–February 1937, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna, March–April 1937 (121, reproduced, as ‘Paestum im Gewitter’).
Eight Centuries of Landscape and Natural History in European Water-colour 1180–1920, Department of Prints and Drawings, British Museum, London, April 1958 (64, as ‘Paestum in a Storm’).
Turner Watercolors from The British Museum: A Loan Exhibition Circulated by the Smithsonian Institution, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, September–October 1963, Museum of Fine Arts of Houston, Texas, November 1963, M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, December 1963–January 1964, Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, January–March 1964, William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, March–April 1964, Brooklyn Museum, New York, May 1964, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, June–July 1964 (46, reproduced, as ‘Paestum in a Storm’).
[Display of watercolours from the Turner Bequest], Tate Gallery, London, ?March 1965 (no catalogue).
Classical Sites and Monuments, British Museum, London, July–October 1971 (69, as ‘One of the Temples at Paestum in a Storm’).
The Art of Drawing, exhibition catalogue, British Museum, London, October 1972–[?] (335, as ‘Paestum in a Storm’).
Turner 1775–1851, Royal Academy, London, November 1974–March 1975 (252, reproduced, as ‘Paestum in a Thunderstorm’).
Turner 1775–1851: zhivopis', risunok, akvarel', Hermitage Museum, Leningrad, October–November 1975, Pushkin Museum, Moscow, December 1975–January 1976 (23, reproduced).
J.M.W. Turner 1775–1851: Akvareller og Tegninger fra British Museum, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, February–May 1976 (27, as ‘Paestum in a Thunderstorm’, circa 1825).
William Turner und die Landschaft seiner Zeit, Hamburger Kunsthalle, May–July 1976 (reproduced in colour, as ‘Gewitter über Paestum’, circa 1825).
Turner and the Sublime, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, November 1980–January 1981, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, February–April 1981, British Museum, London, May–September 1981 (75, reproduced).
Summer Miscellany: Watercolours from the Turner Bequest, Tate Gallery, London, July–September 1989 (no catalogue).
William Turner: Licht und Farbe, Museum Folkwang, Essen, September 2001–January 2002, Kunsthaus Zürich, February–May 2002 (124, reproduced in colour, as ‘Gewitter über Paestum’, circa 1826).
William Turner. Maler der Elemente / Turner and the Elements, Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg, June–September 2011, Muzeum Narodowe, Krakow, October–January 2012, Turner Contemporary, Margate, January–May 2012 (43, reproduced in colour).
(see main catalogue text)
(see main catalogue text)
E.T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn eds., Library Edition: The Works of John Ruskin: Volume XIII: Turner: The Harbours of England; Catalogues and Notes, London 1904, p.562 (Oxford loans catalogue, 1878) no.21, as ‘Paestum in Storm. Study for engraving’.
W[illiam] G[eorge] Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., vol.II, London 1913, p.385 under no.799, ‘Paestum’.
A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.II, p.1191, CCCLXIV [a] 224, as ‘Paestum in storm’.
Edward Croft-Murray, Turner Watercolors from The British Museum: A Loan Exhibition Circulated by the Smithsonian Institution, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC 1963, p.20 no.46, reproduced p. as ‘Paestum in a Storm’.
Martin Butlin, Andrew Wilton and John Gage, Turner 1775–1851, exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy, London 1974, p.95 no.252, reproduced p.97, as ‘Paestum in a Thunderstorm’, circa 1825.
Ada Polak, ‘Turner på ny’, Kunst Kultur, 58 årgang, 1975, reproduced p.237.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.389 no.769, reproduced (slightly cropped).
Andrew Wilton, Turner and the Sublime, exhibition catalogue, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto 1980, p.159 no.75, reproduced.
Guy Weelan, J.M.W. Turner, trans. I. Mark Paris, New York 1982, reproduced p.106, pl.101.
Cecilia Powell, ‘Turner on Classic Ground: His Visits to Central and Southern Italy and Related Paintings and Drawings’, unpublished Ph.D thesis, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London 1984, p.191.
Marcel-Etienne Dupret, ‘Turner’s Little Liber’, Turner Studies, vol.9, no.1, Summer 1989, p.36 under no.1.
Anne Lyles and Diane Perkins, Colour into Line: Turner and the Art of Engraving, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1989, p.59 under no.48, as circa 1826.
Luke Herrmann, Turner Prints: The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 1990, p.146, pl.119, as circa 1820–5.
Jan Piggott, Turner’s Vignettes, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1993, p.39.
Gillian Forrester, Turner’s ‘Drawing Book’: The Liber Studiorum, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1996, p.145 under no.81.
Eric Shanes, Turner’s Watercolour Explorations 1810–1842, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997, p.98 under ‘“Liber Studiorum” and “Little Liber” Series’, as ‘Study for “Paestum”’.
As Nicola Moorby sets out in her catalogue entries for the 1819 Naples, Paestum and Rome sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CLXXXVI), Paestum (Pesto in modern Italian) was the most southerly site Turner visited on his Italian tour of 1819–20, on the Tyrrhenian coast about twenty miles south-east of Salerno, where three Doric Greek temples dating from the fifth century BC stand on the plain. Turner had shown one of them, taken from an existing source, in a watercolour diagrams for his 1811 Royal Academy perspective lectures (Tate D17072; Turner Bequest CXCV 102). He made various sketches at Paestum in 1819 (Tate D15945, D15946, D15968–D15973, D15995–D15997; Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 19a, 19b, 29–31a, 42a–43a). Luke Herrmann has suggested that Turner worked on the ‘Little Liber’ design soon after his return from Italy, dating the inception of the whole series rather earlier than is generally suggested.1
The temples were also the subject of a watercolour vignette of about 1826–7 (Tate D27665 CCLXXX 148),2 engraved for Samuel Rogers’s Italy (1830), again including storm clouds and lightning above a low horizon.3 However, both it and the ‘Little Liber’ design are by no means accurate transcriptions of the sketches; rather, as Cecilia Powell has observed, they imaginatively reflect ‘the theme of vast temples standing firm amid wind and storm’.4 Andrew Wilton relates John Ruskin’s idea of Turner’s association of lightning with ‘monuments of dead religion’;5 the general composition and mood have been appropriately compared with the late unpublished Liber Studiorum composition Stonehenge of about 1824 (preliminary watercolour in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston).6
The present composition was engraved in mezzotint,7 traditionally ascribed to Turner himself, although the plate was apparently not one of those found in his studio after his death8 (see the ‘Little Liber’ introduction). The development of the design through four trial proof stages is described by Rawlinson and Dupret, who mention the present watercolour as the source,9 as had Ruskin as early as 1878.10 At first the print only included the temple on the left, to which a second temple in the central distance and a buffalo skeleton in the foreground were added. Tate’s impression (T04914) is from the late nineteenth century, with signs of corrosion suggesting that the plate was of steel rather than copper.11
As discussed in the introduction, this ‘Little Liber’ subject is probably the one noted as ‘Temple’ among others listed inside the front cover of Turner’s Worcester and Shrewsbury sketchbook, in use in 1831 (Tate D41053; Turner Bequest CCXXXIX).
Pink and Yellow Sky (Tate D36213; Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 352), a watercolour study formerly known as ‘Sea-Piece’,12 has been suggested as possibly related to this composition by Eric Shanes;13 the features in common are a low, dark horizon and heavy clouds, but the latter differ in their formation and there is no indication of buildings, so D36213 has not been included in the present ‘Little Liber’ section.
See Herrmann 1990, p.148, and also p.145.
Wilton 1979, p.439 no.1173, reproduced.
See Croft-Murray 1963, p.20; Butlin, Wilton and Gage 1974, p.95; and Piggott 1993, p.39.
Powell 1984, p.191.
Wilton 1980, p.159.
See Dupret 1989, p.36 and Forrester 1996, p.145; for the Stonehenge design see Alexander J. Finberg, The History of Turner’s Liber Studiorum with a New Catalogue Raisonné, London 1924, pp.323–5 no.81, drawing reproduced p.; and Forrester 1996, p.145 no 81, drawing no.81 i, reproduced; see also Wilton 1980, p.156.
W[illiam] G[eorge] Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., vol.I, London 1908, p.cx, and vol.II 1913, pp.210, 385 no.799.
Rawlinson II 1913, p.385.
Ibid.; and Dupret 1989, p.36.
See Cook and Wedderburn 1904, p.562.
See Lyles and Perkins 1989, p.59.
Finberg 1909, II, p.1204.
Shanes 1997, p.98 under ‘“Liber Studiorum” and “Little Liber” Series’, as ‘?Related to TB CCCLXIV 142 and 224’; also listed p.102 under ‘Sky Sketches’.
The lighting indicated in the bright distance is left as bare paper within the area of pinkish wash. The clouds above are very roughly indicated, with the tones partly differentiated by working wet on wet. They peter out well below the top of the sheet; the top of the mezzotint image corresponds roughly with the upper edges of the watercolour strokes. There is very rough pencil hatching above and partly overlapping with the clouds.
Blank; not accessible at time of writing and thus not inspected for inscriptions or condition.
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