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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Verses (Inscription by Turner) c.1807-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Inside Back Cover:
Verses (Inscription by Turner) circa 1807–8
Inscribed by Turner in pencil (see main catalogue entry) on white wove paper, 108 x 107 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Finberg did not record this inscription. See Introduction and note to folio 85 verso of the sketchbook (D06709) for the background and subject of these verses, the demolition of Alexander Pope’s villa at Twickenham. Rosalind Mallord Turner’s reading published in the 1990 Tate catalogue is adopted here:
To workmen show him in weekly gain
and tear the flesh of him that his Ax[e] had made
Age M[enalcas] heard far less rejoice
Like lenten lambing
With B your Colin newly bride
Which B of Lob with pity smote
All like Alexis
‘Alexis’ refers to Pope himself, as in the verses on folios 86, 86 verso and 88 of the sketchbook (D06710, D06711, D06714). ‘Colin’ is Colin Clout, a shepherd borrowed from Edmund Spenser, while ‘B’ is the maiden ‘Bloss’ or ‘Boz’; see also folios 85 verso and 86 verso (D06709, D06711). ‘M’ can be identified as Menalcas, another shepherd, this time from Virgil’s Eclogues.1

David Blayney Brown
December 2006

See Wilton in Wilton and Mallord Turner 1990, p.73.

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Verses (Inscription by Turner) c.1807–8 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, December 2006, 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-verses-inscription-by-turner-r1130811, accessed 21 May 2018.