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T04787 The Thames at Mortlake, from ‘The Book of Gems’
engr. W.J. Cooke
Line-engraving 60 × 80 (2 3/8 × 3 1/8) on India paper laid on wove paper 286 × 212 (11 1/4 × 8 5/16); plate-mark 230 × 152 (9 1/16 × 6)
Inscribed: see below
Purchased (Grant-in-Aid) 1986
Prov: ...; Sir Henry Theobald, sold Sotheby's 12 May 1925 (? in 180); ...; N.W. Lott and H.J. Gerrish Ltd, from whom bt by Tate Gallery
Lit: Rawlinson II 1913, no.644, engraver's proof (a)
Engraver's proof of plate published in vol.I, 1836, p.249, pl.42. Original oil painting: National Gallery of Art, Washington (Butlin and Joll 1984, no.239). For publication details of The Book of Gems, see T05203. The first volume of The Book of Gems included plates after Martin, Lawrence and Reynolds besides the Turner engraving. ‘The Thames at Mortlake’ was used to illustrate a poem describing the beauties of the Thames, ‘From Cooper's Hill’, by Sir John Denham. This early engraver's proof is listed as being unfinished in Rawlinson and is indeed inscribed in pencil ‘(before clouds below sun) etc.’. This was the only plate after Turner to appear in The Book of Gems, although another design, ‘Sunrise’ (1838, p.23, pl.5), was erroneously described in the first edition as being after him. Rawlinson (II 1913, p.331) includes ‘Sunrise’ in the section of ‘engravings wrongly attributed to Turner’.
The prints after Turner in the collection of the lawyer Sir Henry Theobald were sold at Sotheby's on 12 May 1925, as an inscription in pencil on this proof confirms (see introduction to The Keepsake, T04614-T04630).
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986-88, London 1996