View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
Seventeen line-engravings, one touched with pencil (T04617), in various states, comprising twelve subjects out of a total of seventeen; various papers and sizes; most annotated in pencil with the name of the collector Sir Henry Theobald (See also T05105-T05109)
Purchased (Grant-in-Aid) 1986
Prov: ...; N.W. Lott and H.J. Gerrish Ltd, from whom bt by Tate Gallery (earlier provenance given in individual entries where known)
Lit: Cecilia Powell, Turner in the South, 1987; Eric Shanes, Turner's England: 1810–38, 1990
For more than a decade, after 1826, much of Turner's work for the engravers was concerned with the production of designs for small annuals, a form of ‘pocket’ literature primarily intended for the Christmas market and very much in vogue at this time. The Keepsake was the most successful of the annuals and was an anthology of sentimental prose and poetry, lavishly illustrated with designs by popular artists of the day who, besides Turner, included Thomas Stothard, William Westall and C.R. Leslie. It was launched in 1827 by the engraver and publisher Charles Heath (1785–1848), who had turned his attention at about this time from engraving to promoting and publishing such literature, acting as an ‘art editor’ in selecting the illustrations as well as executing many of the plates himself. The Keepsake was first published in 1828 in conjunction with the publishers Hurst, Chance and Co. of St Paul's and Robert Jennings of Poultry. Heath had recently begun to collaborate with Jennings over another engraving project involving Turner, Picturesque Views in England and Wales (see T04503-T04612). The complicated changes in publishers for both these series are closely interrelated. After severing his connection with Jennings around 1831, Heath continued to supervise the publication of The Keepsake when it was taken over in 1832 by Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green, who continued to act as publishers throughout the period when Turner was contributing to the volumes. Impressions of the plates are found with the names of different publishers than those of the corresponding volumes of The Keepsake (see, for example, T04628). This suggests that print publishers such as Moon, Boys and Graves and Charles Tilt bought up the steel plates from Longman's and, after altering the publication line on the plates, issued impressions separately, perhaps in portfolio, for sale to collectors. The Keepsake was also published in France and Germany, which is indicative of its international appeal: in Paris by Giraldon Bovinet (1830), Rittner and Goupill (1833–6) and Delloy and Co. (1837), in Frankfurt by Charles Jugil (1833), and in Berlin by A. Asher (1834–6). The editorship of The Keepsake was also subject to change: from 1829 to 1835 the editor was Frederick Mansel Reynolds, in 1836 the Hon. Mrs Norton, and in 1837 Lady Emmeline Stuart Wortley. Heath continued to supervise the production of The Keepsake under its different publishers until his death in 1848, although Turner's contribution to the project ceased in 1837; the last volume of The Keepsake appeared as late as 1856. In 1836 Heath reprinted many of the plates in his Gallery of British Engravings; others were reissued in France in the Echo des Feuilletons; a replica of another (‘Havre’, T04626) is recorded by Rawlinson as being published in Germany.
It is possible that Heath and Turner maintained a fairly flexible arrangement as to where the artist's drawings made for engraving would ultimately appear. Some of the illustrations for The Keepsake were possibly originally intended for use in other projects on which Turner was engaged at that time, or were recycled from schemes abandoned by artist or publisher.
Although most of the engravings, particularly in the early volumes, were executed by Heath himself, none of the illustrations after Turner were by him. Except for Henry Griffiths (active 1835–49), whose only plate after Turner appeared in The Keepsake, all the engravers had worked with the artist before. They were Edward Goodall (1795–1870), Robert Wallis (1794–1878), William R. Smith (active 1820s–1850s), James Tibbits Willmore (1800–63), William Miller (1796–1882) and James Baylis Allen (1803–76).
Several of the engravings in this group are stamped with Turner's monogram blind stamp (Lugt 1498). The Keepsake prints from his studio were sold at Christie's from 23 to 25 April 1873. All except two of the plates in this group (T04617, T04624) were once in the collection of the lawyer Sir Henry Theobald (1847–1934). The prints after Turner from his collection were sold at Sotheby's on 12 May 1925 and bear the inscription ‘From the Collection of Sir Henry Theobald K.C. May 12th 1925’ (see Lugt 1375–6).
T04617 Virginia Water No.1 engr. R. Wallis
Line-engraving 93 × 139 (3 5/8 × 5 1/2) touched with pencil on India paper laid on wove paper 97 × 141 (3 13/16 × 5 9/16); trimmed within plate-mark
Inscribed on back in brown ink: ‘M.R. Wallis | No 30 Penton Street | Pentonville | London’ and, deleted, ‘Monsieur J.[...]. | Post Restante | Paris’ and franked ‘21 Aout 1829’, ‘EPAYE PARIS’ and ‘ANGLETERRE’
Prov: Robert Wallis; ...; ? A.C. Wallis
Lit: As for T04616 but touched engraver's proof
This proof seems to have been sent abroad by the engraver so that it could be corrected by Turner, who was staying in Paris throughout August 1829 to collect material for the ‘Rivers of Europe’ project; presumably the publishers were concerned that progress on the plates should not be delayed during Turner's absence. The impression was probably folded so that the image was protected, and the addresses were written on the reverse of the paper. The print has since been cropped nearly to the edge of the image. The ink from the inscription on the back has come through, staining parts of the image.
According to Rawlinson, this touched proof was in the collection of Mr A. Wallis. This may be a misreading of the inscription, which must surely refer to the engraver Robert Wallis or, alternatively, it could be that Rawlinson knew the print to be in the possession of the collector A.C. Wallis who was probably a descendant of the engraver (see introduction to Provincial Antiquities of Scotland, T04485-T04501).
The print is heavily touched in pencil, particularly in the trees, on the water, on the lower part of the pavilion and on the swans and ducks. Many areas are scratched out to increase the lights, most noticeably in the sky and on the pavilion.
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986-88, London 1996
- leisure and pastimes(6,746)