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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Colour Studies and Drawings Related to Oil Paintings, with Other Figure Subjects c.1819–46

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This small but diverse grouping of drawings and ‘colour beginnings’ largely comprises technically varied studies which may be related with varying degrees of certainty (for example Tate D34924; Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 427) or conjecture (Tate D25391; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 268) to known oils painted by Turner over a long period of his middle and late career. They are gathered in one place to prevent an already tentative connection becoming fragmentary. Turner’s use of ‘colour beginnings’ in relation to finished watercolours for engraving projects is well-established and extensive; see for example the ‘England and Wales Colour Studies c.1825–39’ section of this catalogue. The scale of his use of separate drawings or watercolours (as opposed to referring to his sketchbooks) in the preparatory stages of paintings remains a matter for speculation. Also included here is what appears to be a study of a horse and figures, perhaps for a historical composition or ...
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D25278, D25326, D25391, D25510, D27595, D27656, D34832, D34833, D34871, D34924, D35977, D36120, D36121, D40317, D40449
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 156, 204, 268, 386, CCLXXX 78, 139, CCCXLIV 350, 350v, 379, 427, CCCLXIV 134, 273, 273v
This small but diverse grouping of drawings and ‘colour beginnings’1 largely comprises technically varied studies which may be related with varying degrees of certainty (for example Tate D34924; Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 427) or conjecture (Tate D25391; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 268) to known oils painted by Turner over a long period of his middle and late career.
They are gathered in one place to prevent an already tentative connection becoming fragmentary. Turner’s use of ‘colour beginnings’ in relation to finished watercolours for engraving projects is well-established and extensive; see for example the ‘England and Wales Colour Studies c.1825–39’ section of this catalogue. The scale of his use of separate drawings or watercolours (as opposed to referring to his sketchbooks) in the preparatory stages of paintings remains a matter for speculation.2
Also included here is what appears to be a study of a horse and figures, perhaps for a historical composition or illustration (Tate D34871; Turner Bequest CCXCIV 379), and a very unusual, apparently Biblical scene placing an angel within an initially topographical Alpine scene of the 1840s (Tate D36120; Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 273); its full significance has yet to be deciphered.
1
See Eric Shanes, ‘Beginnings’ in Evelyn Joll, Martin Butlin and Luke Herrmann (eds.), The Oxford Companion to J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 2001, pp.21–3; among many other accounts, see also Andrew Wilton in Martin Butlin, Wilton and John Gage, Turner 1775–1851, exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy, London 1974, p.26; and Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.187.
2
See Eric Shanes, Turner’s Watercolour Explorations 1810–1842, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997, pp.30, 100.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Colour Studies and Drawings Related to Oil Paintings, with Other Figure Subjects c.1819–46’, September 2016, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, February 2017, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/colour-studies-and-drawings-related-to-oil-paintings-with-other-figure-subjects-r1184450, accessed 23 June 2018.