J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro c.1794–8

Turner Bequest CCCLXXIV 1–22, 24–37
Album half-bound in rubbed marbled paper over boards with leather corners and gold-tooled leather spine with five raised bands
38 leaves of ‘stout cartridge [paper], on which ... drawings have been mounted’ (Finberg) and front flyleaf; containing thirty drawings mounted as in the companion album (Tate; Turner Bequest CCCLXXIII); album page watermark ‘A STACE | 1798’; album page size 368 x 480 mm
Numbered 76* as part of the Turner Schedule, and endorsed by the Executors of the Turner Bequest, Charles Lock Eastlake and John Prescott Knight, in pencil ‘Schedule 76* | C.L.E. | JPK’ inside front cover top left; also inscribed by A.M. Hind ‘Restored to its old form 1934 | Complete except for No 23 | The drawing catalogued in the Inventory under this number does not belong | to the book. It is now placed with unidentified drawings | A.M.H. June 1934’ and ‘Blank leaves at end reduced f 30–37 | Three of the [?odd] leaves at end used to make up leaves lost in the middle, | and two used as flyleaves in CCCLXXIII’; inscribed in pen and brown ink ‘Turner 6’ top left;
stamped in black ‘CCCLXXIV’ top left; inscribed in pencil ‘CCCLXXIV’ top centre
Inscribed in pencil on recto of front flyleaf ‘3–79’ top right, and by A.M. Hind in pencil ‘fly leaf’ at centre
Inscribed inside back cover by A.M. Hind in pencil ‘End paper’ at centre
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Provenance:
Individual works commissioned by Dr Thomas Monro
Monro’s posthumous sale, Christie’s, London, 28 June 1833 (79, as ‘Twenty-six sketches in Switzerland and Italy, by Turner, in blue and Indian ink, in a scrap book’), £10 10 shillings
Bought by Thomas Griffith, presumably on behalf of Turner
This is one of two albums at Tate (the other being Turner Bequest CCCLXXIII) containing drawings made by Turner in collaboration with Thomas Girtin (1775–1802) at the behest of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833). Monro was physician to the King, and at some stage probably treated Turner’s mentally unstable mother. He was an amateur draughtsman and collector, who invited the young artists to his home in the Adelphi on winter Friday evenings, retaining their work and giving them three and sixpence – or half a crown, according to Turner’s later memory of it – and a supper of oysters. The subjects are apparently all copied from sketches by John Robert Cozens (1752–1798), the majority probably in sketchbooks that have been lost from the series belonging to William Beckford and now in the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester. Some are known through a series of tracings, known as the Beaumont tracings, referred to here by their numbers in the album now at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven. Finberg considered the drawings to be by Girtin, and referred to an account of Turner telling an auctioneer that ‘some drawings attributed to him were not by him.’ However, they are almost certainly all examples of the collaboration between Girtin and Turner noted by Joseph Farington in his diary for 12 November 1798: ‘Girtin drew in outlines and Turner washed in the effects.’1
Monro made available works from his own collection, principally by Cozens and Edward Dayes (1763–1804), and commissioned copies which it is to be supposed he imagined would serve as useful practice for these already precocious and progressive watercolourists. During 1795, Turner devoted considerable effort to perfecting his technique as a painter of effects of water; examples of such exercises are to be found in the South Wales and Isle of Wight sketchbooks (Tate; Turner Bequest XXVI, XXIV), and he may have regarded subjects like the views on the Reichenbach and of its famous Falls on folios 1–5 recto of this album (D36478–D36482) as grist to the same mill. Considerations such as this, as well as general style, seem to indicate a date around 1795, confirming Farington’s statement that they were done in the winters of 1794–5 and 1795–6.
Many remained unmounted, but Monro had some placed in albums, of which this and Turner Bequest CCCLXXIII are examples. A large number of these drawings were dispersed at the sale of his effects after his death in 1833, and Turner made a point of acquiring several lots, so that the work he did for Monro is well represented in the Bequest. As the inscription ‘3–79’ on the front flyleaf appears to confirm, this is probably the volume sold on the third day of Monro’s sale, Christie’s, London, 28 June 1833 (79) as ‘Twenty-six sketches in Switzerland and Italy, by Turner, in blue and Indian ink, in a scrap book’ and bought by Turner’s agent Thomas Griffith, presumably on Turner’s behalf, for £10.10.0. The view of the Savoy Palace on folio 21 recto (D36498; Turner Bequest CCCLXXIV 20) was probably not originally in the album, and has been given a variant provenance in its individual catalogue entry.
As with the other album, titles on the versos of the drawings have been copied on to the album leaves in a later hand. Although Finberg records these titles on many sheets, they are not all apparent today. Some leaves have suffered water damage from the 1928 flood.
1
See Wilton 1984, p.9.

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

Showing 1 - 30 of 38 artworks
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  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36478
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36479
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36480
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36481
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36482
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36483
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36484
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36485
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36486
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36487
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36488
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36489
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36490
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36491
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36492
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36493
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36494
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36495
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    At Terracina c.1794‑8
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36496
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36497
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36498
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    View at Portici c.1794‑8
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36499
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36500
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36502
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    On Lake Garda c.1794‑8
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36503
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36504
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36505
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36506
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36507
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin
    At Castella c.1794‑8
    Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro
    D36508
Showing 1 - 30 of 38 artworks

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Album of Copies of Swiss and Italian Views for Dr Thomas Monro c.1794–8’, sketchbook, April 2012, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/album-of-copies-of-swiss-and-italian-views-for-dr-thomas-monro-r1140546, accessed 21 September 2014.