Catalogue entry

404. [N00531] Shade and Darkness—the evening of the Deluge Exh. 1843

THE TATE GALLERY, LONDON (531)

Canvas, 31 × 30 3/4 (78·5 × 78)

Coll. Turner Bequest 1856 (47, ‘Eve of the Deluge’ 2'6 1/2" by 2'6v" in diameter); transferred to the Tate Gallery 1905.

Exh. R.A. 1843 (363); Cardiff 1951; Arts Council tour 1952–3 (20); Tate Gallery 1959 (360); New York 1966 (28, repr. in colour p. 40); Dresden (18, repr.) and Berlin (27, colour pl. 17) 1972; R.A. 1974–5 (522); Hamburg 1976 (130 and 156, repr. and colour pl. 18); Hague 1978–9 (xv, repr. in colour); Paris 1983–4 (72, repr.); Birmingham 1984.

Lit. Thornbury 1862, i, p. 347; ii, pp. 332–3; 1877, p. 466, 531; Hamerton 1879, p. 295; Bell 1901, p. 147 no. 239; Armstrong 1902, pp. 156–7, 220; Davies 1946, p. 186; Finberg 1961, pp. 396, 507 no. 553; R.D. Gray, ‘J. M. W. Turner and Goethe's Colour Theory’, German Studies presented to Walter Horace Bruford 1962, pp. 112–16; Kitson 1964, p. 82, repr. in colour p. 72; Rothenstein and Butlin 1964, pp. 70–72, pl. 121; Gowing 1966, pp. 38, 51, repr. in colour p. 40; Lindsay 1966, pp. 212–13; 19662, pp. 52, 55–6; Gage 1968, p. 685; Gage 1969, pp. 173, 185–8, 190, 194, colour pl. 51; Reynolds 1969, pp. 150, 192–6, colour pl. 161; Hermann 1975, pp. 50–51, 233, pl. 151; Heffernan 1978, pp. 142–3; Wallace 1979, pp. 109, 113–14, pl. 14; Wilton 1979, pp. 155, 200–2, 216, pl. 231; Wilton 1980, p. 141; Butlin 1981, pp. 43–5; Paulson 1982, p. 68.

Exhibited in 1843 with the following lines:

‘The morn put forth her sign of woe unheeded;
But disobedience slept; the dark'ning Deluge closed around,
And the last token came: the giant framework floated,

The roused birds forsook their nightly shelters screaming
And the beasts waded to the ark’.

Fallacies of Hope M.S.

These verses echo both Thomas Gisborne's Walks in a Forest and Shelley's Prometheus Unbound.

See under the companion Light and Colour (Goethe's Theory)—The Morning after the Deluge—Moses writing the Book of Genesis (No. 405 [N00532]). For what is almost certainly a first version of the composition see No. 443.

Published in:
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984