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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Study for 'Isis' 1805

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 29 Recto:
Study for ‘Isis’ 1805
Turner Bequest XC 29
Pen and ink on off-white wove paper, prepared with a grey wash, 150 x 258 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘29’ bottom left, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘XC 29’ bottom left, descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
For the subject and related work see note to folio 3 of the sketchbook (D05494). This is one of various versions of the composition in the book, used for the painting of 1805–6 bought by the Earl of Egremont, known as The Thames at Weybridge (Tate T03872; displayed at Petworth House)1 but engraved as Isis for the Liber Studiorum. Noting that the picture’s ideal classicism forms a ‘perfect pendant’ to Narcissus and Echo (Tate T03869; displayed at Petworth House)2 also bought by Egremont, Martin Butlin has observed that in this drawing the composition is even closer in that instead of the peacock that Turner painted perching on an entablature, there is a reclining figure similar to those in the other picture.3

David Blayney Brown
August 2007

Butlin and Joll 1984, p.126 no.204 (pl.201).
Ibid., pp.41–3 no.53 (pl.63).
Butlin in Butlin, Luther and Warrell 1989, p.27.

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Study for ‘Isis’ 1805 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, August 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-isis-r1129844, accessed 18 January 2018.