Joseph Mallord William TurnerVerses (Inscription by Turner) c.1808

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Artwork details

Verses (Inscription by Turner)
From Greenwich Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CII
Date c.1808
MediumGraphite on paper
Dimensionssupport: 115 x 76 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CII 41
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Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 41 Recto:
Verses (Inscription by Turner) circa 1808
Turner Bequest CII 41
Inscribed by Turner in pencil (see main catalogue entry) on white wove paper, 115 x 76 mm
Inscribed by Ruskin in red ink ‘41’ top right, running vertically
Stamped in black ‘CII’ top right, running vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Some words at least can be made out, as below:
From that ... shrine
But yesterday O most sublime
Mr P the note that stood alone
... indivisible and one
... of space
of infinity
unbound[ed] space ... vacuity
‘Mr P’ is Alexander Pope, whose poetry and demolished villa at Twickenham are mentioned throughout this sketchbook. A longer and very different version of these lines, in which Turner alludes to the inflated literary reputation of Eliza Haywood and her satirisation in Pope’s Dunciad, is on folio 33 (D06784). In both passages, Turner borrows Pope’s description of Haywood as ‘vacuous’.

David Blayney Brown
March 2007

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