Joseph Mallord William Turner

St. Anne’s Hill, I, for Rogers’s ‘Poems’

c.1830–2

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

Medium
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 235 x 307 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D27687
Turner Bequest CCLXXX 170

Catalogue entry

This vignette, St Anne’s Hill, I, appeared in the 1834 edition of Rogers’s Poems, as an illustration to the poem entitled ‘Human Life’.1 It was engraved by Edward Goodall.2 The design shows a view of St Anne’s Hill, Surrey, the home of Charles James Fox (1794–1806), a radical Whig politician and statesman who had also been a personal acquaintance of the poet’s. Rogers devotes the following lines to his friend:
And now once more where most he loved to be,
In his own fields – breathing tranquility –
We hail him – not less happy, Fox, than thee!
Thee at St. Anne’s so soon of Care beguiled,
Playful, sincere, and artless as a child!...
How oft from grove to grove, from seat to seat,
With thee conversing in thy loved retreat,
I saw the sun go down! –Ah, then ’twas thine
Ne’er to forget some volume half divine,
Shakspeare’s [sic] or Dryden’s – thro’ the chequered shade
Borne in thy hand behind thee as we strayed;
And where we sate (and many a halt we made)
To read there with a fervour all thy own,
And in thy grand and melancholy tone,
Some splendid passage not to thee unknown,
Fit theme for a long discourse – Thy bell has tolled!
(Poems, pp.91–2)
The foreground of the vignette contains an empty chair, a poignant reference to Rogers’s late friend who had died in 1806. The engraved version also contains several open books lying on the ground beside, presumably added by Goodall under instructions from Turner.
The vignette is one of two illustrations in Poems to feature St. Anne’s Hill. The second shows a view of the garden at Fox’s estate and appears as the tail-piece to Rogers’s poem ‘Written in Westminster Abbey October 10, 1809’ (see Tate D27688; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 171). The artist made a number of sketches of the house in his Windsor and St Anne’s Hill sketchbook, one of which served as the basis for this vignette (see Tate D20589; Turner Bequest CCXXV 26).3 Instead of an empty chair in the foreground, the sketch shows a fallen statue.
1
Samuel Rogers, Poems, London 1834, p.91.
2
W.G. Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., vol.II, London 1913, no.384. There is one impression in Tate’s collection (T06167).
3
Wilton 1975, p.113.
Verso:
Inscribed by unknown hands in pencil ‘19’ upper centre and ‘15 | b’ centre and ‘CCLXXX.170’ bottom centre and ‘D27687’ bottom right. Also touches of brown watercolour centre and lower left
Stamped in black ‘CCLXXX 170’ centre left

Meredith Gamer
August 2006

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