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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Study for 'Dido and Aeneas' 1805

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 5 Recto:
Study for ‘Dido and Aeneas’ 1805
Turner Bequest XCIII 5
Pen and ink and brown wash on white wove paper, prepared with a grey wash, 171 x 262 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘5’ bottom left, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘XCIII 5’ bottom left, descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Dido and Aeneas (Tate N00494)1 was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1814 but probably painted earlier. For the picture and subject, see especially catalogue note to the coloured study in the contemporary Studies for Pictures: Isleworth sketchbook (Tate D05520; Turner Bequest XC 21).
The present study in ink and monochrome wash anticipates both coloured version and picture, closely enough to suggest that Turner chose it in preference to a variant composition study in the Wey, Guildford sketchbook (Tate D06182; Turner Bequest XCVIII 2). At upper left, Turner has drawn the points of the compass, presumably as a guide to the position of Carthage and the dawn lighting effects required for the picture. When he painted it, he showed the light rising on the left.
See also folio 4 verso and 5 verso–7 (D05773, D05775–D05778 ) for other figure studies which have been associated with the picture.

David Blayney Brown
October 2007

Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.92–3 no.129 (pl.135).

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Study for ‘Dido and Aeneas’ 1805 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, October 2007, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-study-for-dido-and-aeneas-r1129995, accessed 25 June 2018.