Joseph Mallord William Turner

Three Elevations of a Studio or Gallery


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 115 x 190 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XCIX 86

Catalogue entry

Drawn with the sketchbook inverted, these sketches show Turner as amateur architect. They represent three alternative ideas for a building with a door and window or two windows, and variant pediments, rectangular or arched. The elevation at left shows railings to the front and a chimney on the right side. The designs hint at an economical classicism, with applied detail perhaps in stone or stucco render. Gage, whose dating of the sketchbook about 1809 has been noted in the Introduction, describes them with a touch of wishful thinking as for a ‘top-lit studio in a town house’ and suggests they might be early thoughts for a new Gallery. In fact most drawings in the sketchbook are earlier than 1809 and even then Turner’s Gallery remained unchanged at 64 (now 35) Harley Street. Work on the Gallery at his later house at 47 (now 23) Queen Anne Street did not begin until 1819.

David Blayney Brown
March 2009

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