Joseph Mallord William Turner Study for ‘The Goddess of Discord Choosing the Apple of Contention in the Garden of the Hesperides’ 1805

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Artwork details

Title
Study for ‘The Goddess of Discord Choosing the Apple of Contention in the Garden of the Hesperides’
From Hesperides (1) Sketchbook
Turner Bequest XCIII
Date 1805
Medium Pen and ink on paper
Dimensions Support: 171 x 262 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D05770
Turner Bequest XCIII 3
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Catalogue entry

See note to folio 1 verso of the sketchbook (D05767) for its various sketches and studies related to The Goddess of Discord Choosing the Apple of Contention in the Garden of the Hesperides exhibited at the British Institution in 1806 (Tate N00477).1 In the case of this rough composition study, Finberg thought the background, which is shaded in black chalk, suggestive of the picture but suspected ‘the figures point to another subject, – possibly one of the labours of Hercules’. Hill, while acknowledging that the sketch seems ‘more dramatic’ than the picture, rightly observes that ‘all the main elements are present, even down to the fallen [tree] trunk in the right foreground’. He also notes the likely derivation from Alpine scenery which Turner had seen in 1802, a connection that is pronounced in the picture. See also folio 30 (D05816) for a sketch of landscape background, again Alpine in character and probably also related to the picture.

David Blayney Brown
October 2007

1
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.44–6 no.57 (pl.67).

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