Joseph Mallord William Turner

Study for a Biblical Picture

1816

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 97 x 154 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D11023
Turner Bequest CXLIV 95 a

Catalogue entry

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

1
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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