Joseph Mallord William TurnerStudy for a Biblical Picture 1816

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Artwork details

Study for a Biblical Picture
From Yorkshire 1 Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CXLIV
Date 1816
MediumGraphite on paper
Dimensionssupport: 97 x 154 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXLIV 95 a
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 95 Verso:
Study for a Biblical Picture 1816
Turner Bequest CXLIV 95a
Pencil on white wove paper, 97 x 154 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This is the first of a series of historical studies, biblical and classical, running intermittently through the later pages of the sketchbook to folio 103 verso (D11036); see Introduction to the sketchbook. It is not altogether clear what the present subject might be, but perhaps we can make out a host of figures in the foreground, another in the cloud above centre and a figure of an angel to the right. If so Turner might be working towards a scene of the defeat of the rebel angels from Milton’s Paradise Lost. Alternatively, a painting, The Vision of Jacob’s Ladder (Tate N05507),1 reworked c.1830 but begun considerably earlier, might bear some general resemblance

David Hill
January 2009

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.276–7 no.435 (pl.442).

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