Joseph Mallord William TurnerThe Birth of Adonis 1805

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Artwork details

The Birth of Adonis
From Hesperides (2) Sketchbook
Turner Bequest XCIV
Date 1805
MediumPen and ink on paper
Dimensionssupport: 143 x 228 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XCIV 18
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Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 18 Recto:
The Birth of Adonis 1805
Turner Bequest XCIV 18
Pen and ink and brown wash on white wove paper, prepared with a grey wash, 143 x 228 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘18’ bottom left, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘XCIV 18’ bottom left, descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
See note to folio 17 of the sketchbook (D05869) for which as Hill suggests this must be an alternative idea. In it, the action is moved to the centre of the composition, the setting is changed from the outskirts of a city to a riverside wood and the transformation of Adonis’s mother Myrrha into a tree seems further advanced.

David Blayney Brown
December 2007

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