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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Colour Studies for ‘Keepsake’ Illustrations c.1827–32

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This section comprises ‘colour beginnings’ associated with compositions used for steel engraving in annual volumes of the Keepsake; for a discussion of the function of such compositional colour studies in general, see the Introduction to the ‘England and Wales Colour Studies c.1825–39’ section. Produced for the Christmas market between 1828 and 1856, the Keepsake was founded by the engraver Charles Heath, who was also involved with the Turner’s Annual Tour (‘Rivers of France’) volumes (1832–4) and the ongoing Picturesque Views in England and Wales, as an illustrated anthology of prose and poetry intended to appeal to a non-specialist readership. Like the small-format volumes of poetry Turner illustrated around this period (see Meredith Gamer’s ‘Vignette Watercolours c.1826–1843’), these relatively modest but well-produced books contributed to the dissemination of Turner’ ...
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D25135, D25138, D25152, D25155, D25169, D25180, D25216, D25447, D25487, D36329, D40520
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 13, 16, 30, 33, 47, 58, 94, 324, 364, CCCLXV 38
This section comprises ‘colour beginnings’ associated with compositions used for steel engraving in annual volumes of the Keepsake; for a discussion of the function of such compositional colour studies in general, see the Introduction to the ‘England and Wales Colour Studies c.1825–39’ section.1 Produced for the Christmas market between 1828 and 1856, the Keepsake was founded by the engraver Charles Heath, who was also involved with the Turner’s Annual Tour (‘Rivers of France’) volumes (1832–4) and the ongoing Picturesque Views in England and Wales,2 as an illustrated anthology of prose and poetry intended to appeal to a non-specialist readership.3
Like the small-format volumes of poetry Turner illustrated around this period (see Meredith Gamer’s ‘Vignette Watercolours c.1826–1843’), these relatively modest but well-produced books contributed to the dissemination of Turner’s imagery and reputation among a wider public than metropolitan exhibition-goers and his established patrons. Turner contributed seventeen designs between 1828 and 1837: one each in 1828, 1836 and 1837, and two for each of the years between. The last four (1835–7) were in vignette form.4 None of the finished watercolours are in the Turner Bequest or the wider Tate Collection, but there are individual impressions of all the published designs, with detailed notes of their publishing histories in their respective catalogue entries.5 Some were republished in 1836 in Heath’s Gallery of British Engravings.6
Along with many watercolours connected with the ongoing Picturesque Views in England and Wales (see the ‘England and Wales Colour Studies c.1825–39’ and ‘England and Wales c.1826–38’ sections), three Italian views were exhibited by Heath at London’s Egyptian Hall in the summer of 1829, apparently intended for a complementary Picturesque Views in Italy project due for publication in 1830, which came to nothing.7 Meanwhile, one had already been reproduced in 1828’s Keepsake, and the two others followed in the 1829 edition. This demonstrates the interplay between Heath’s various projects, and shows his readiness to publish French and Italian scenes in particular in different contexts.8 Many of the designs have a light-hearted and decorative quality to their subjects and treatment suitable for a general audience.9 Sales during the first decade of the Keepsake series ranged between 7.000 and 15,000 copies.10
The first checklist below sets out the relationship between finished watercolours, their respective Keepsake engravings and the ‘colour beginnings’ gathered here.
1828:
Florence. Watercolour, c.1827 (Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry);11 Tate impressions: T05105, T06138.12 Colour study: Tate D25138 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 16)
1829:
Lake Albano. Watercolour, c.1828 (private collection);13 Tate impressions: T04614, T05615.14 Colour study: D25447 (CCLXIII 324)
Lago Maggiore. Watercolour, c.1828 (private collection);15 Tate impressions: T05106, T06139.16 Colour studies: D25155, D25487 (CCLXIII 33, 364)
1830:
Virginia Water, No.I. Watercolour, c.1829 (private collection);17 engraved 1830: Tate impressions: T04616, T04617, T06140.18 Possible colour study: D25180 (CCLXIII 58)
Virginia Water, No.II. Watercolour, c.1829 (private collection);19 engraved 1830: Tate impressions: T04618, T06141.20 Possible colour study: D25180 (CCLXIII 58)
1832:
St Germain-en-Laye. Watercolour, c.1829–31 (Musée du Louvre, Paris);21 Tate impressions: T04621–T04622, T06146.22 Colour study: D40520
Marly. Watercolour, c.1831 (British Museum, London);23 Tate impressions: T05108, T06147.24 Colour study: D25152 (CCLXIII 30)
1834:
Palace of La Belle Gabrielle. Watercolour, c.1832 (private collection);25 Tate impressions: T04627, T06155–T06156.26 Colour studies: D25169, D36329 (CCLXIII 47, CCCLXV 38)
There are also two ‘colour beginnings’ of French subjects which have been tentatively connected with the Keepsake, although no completed designs are known: Angers (Tate D25135; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 13) and Rouen (D25216; CCLXIII 94). Another, of Tours (D25148; CCLXIII 26), has also been discussed as possibly linked to the Keepsake;27 see John Chu’s entry in the ‘Northern France c.1826–32’ section.
There were nine other published designs, including three French, one German, one Swiss, and one British topographical subjects, the latter by way of depicting a major contemporary event. They do not have any identified ‘colour beginnings’ linked to them, and are not discussed further in this context. Additional information will be found in the entries for the associated engravings:
1831:
Saumur. Watercolour, c.1830 (British Museum, London);28 Tate impressions: T05107, T06142–T0614429
Nantes. Watercolour, c.1829 (Musée du Château de Nantes);30 Tate impressions: T04619–T04620, T0614531
1833:
Ehrenbreitstein. Watercolour, c.1832 (Bury Art Museum);32 Tate impressions: T04623–T04624, T0614833
Falls of the Rhine. Watercolour, c.1831–2 (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery);34 Tate impressions: T04625, T06149–T0615135
1834:
Havre. Watercolour, c.1830–3 (Indianapolis Museum of Art);36 Tate impressions: T04626, T06152–T0615437
1835:
Burning of the Houses of Parliament. Watercolour vignette, c.1835 (Museum of Outdoor Arts, Englewood, Colorado);38 Tate impressions: T04628, T0615739
Fire at Sea. Watercolour vignette, c.1835 (private collection);40 Tate impression: T0462941
1836:
The Wreck. Watercolour vignette, c.1835 (private collection);42 Tate impression: T0463043
1837:
The Sea! The Sea! Watercolour vignette, c.1835 (private collection);44 Tate impression: T0510945
1
See also 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 Luke Herrmann, ‘Heath, James (1757–1834) and Charles (1785–1848)’ in Joll, Butlin and Herrmann 2001, p.137.
3
See Jan Piggott and Martin Butlin, ‘Keepsake, The’ in ibid., p.[156]; see also Anne Lyles and Diane Perkins, Colour into Line: Turner and the Art of Engraving, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1989, p.63.
4
See W[illiam] G[eorge] Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., vol.II, London 1913, pp.222–7 nos.319–335.
5
See also Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986–88, pp.135–9.
6
See Rawlinson, II, 1913, p.231.
7
See transcript of MS handlist in John Gage, Collected Correspondence of J.M.W. Turner with an Early Diary and a Memoir by George Jones, Oxford 1980, pp.[237]–8, and Cecilia Powell, Turner in the South: Rome, Naples, Florence, New Haven and London 1987, pp.126–7.
8
See Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.423; see also Kim Sloan, J.M.W. Turner: Watercolours from the R.W. Lloyd Bequest in the British Museum, London 1998, p.40.
9
See Nicholas Alfrey in Maurice Guillaud, Alfrey, Andrew Wilton and others, Turner en France: aquarelles, peintures, dessins, gravures, carnets de croquis / Turner in France: Watercolours, Paintings, Drawings, Engravings, Sketchbooks, exhibition catalogue, Centre Culturel du Marais, Paris 1981, p.617, and Ian Warrell, Turner: The Fourth Decade: Watercolours 1820–1830, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1991, p.67.
10
See Ian Warrell, Turner on the Loire, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997, p.184.
11
Wilton 1979, p.385 no.727, reproduced.
12
Rawlinson, II, 1913, p.222 no.319.
13
Wilton 1979, p.384 no.731.
14
Rawlinson, II, 1913, pp.222–3 no.320.
15
Wilton 1979, p.384 no.730, as ‘Arona, Lago Maggiore’, reproduced, and pl.203 (colour detail).
16
Rawlinson, II, 1913, p.223 no.321.
17
Wilton 1979, p.359 no.520.
18
Rawlinson, II, 1913, p.223 no.322.
19
Wilton 1979, p.359 no.519, pl.141 (colour).
20
Rawlinson, II, 1913, p.223 no.323.
21
Wilton 1979, p.424 no.1045 pl.204.
22
Rawlinson,.II, 1913, pp.224–5 no.326.
23
Wilton 1979, p.424 no.1047, pl.205.
24
Rawlinson, II, 1913, p.225 no.327.
25
Wilton 1979, p.424 no.1049, as untraced.
26
Rawlinson, II, p.226 no.331.
27
See Warrell 1997, pp.185, 225 no.101.
28
Wilton 1979, p.424 no.1046, reproduced.
29
Rawlinson, II. 1913, p.224 no.324.
30
Wilton 1979, p.424 no.1044.
31
Rawlinson, II, 1913, p.224 no.325.
32
Wilton 1979, p.424 no.1051, reproduced.
33
Rawlinson, II, 1913, p.225 no.328.
34
Wilton 1979, p.345 no.406, as ‘Falls of the Rhine at Schaffhausen’, pl.206.
35
Rawlinson, II, 1913, p.225 no.329.
36
Wilton 1979, p.424 no.1048, as ‘Le Havre: sunset’, reproduced.
37
Rawlinson, II, 1913, p.226 no.330.
38
Wilton 1979, p.457 no.1306, as ‘Destruction of both Houses of Parliament by Fire Octr 1834’, reproduced.
39
Rawlinson, II, 1913, p.226 no.332.
40
Wilton 1979, pp.456–7 no.1305.
41
Rawlinson, II, 1913, pp.226–7 no.333.
42
Wilton 1979, p.456 no.1304, reproduced.
43
Rawlinson, II, 1913, p.227 no.334.
44
Wilton 1979, p.345 no.1303.
45
Rawlinson, II, 1913, p.227 no.335.

Matthew Imms
March 2017

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Colour Studies for ‘Keepsake’ Illustrations c.1827–32’, March 2017, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, July 2017, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/colour-studies-for-keepsake-illustrations-r1186614, accessed 18 December 2017.