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

Liber Studiorum: The Frontispiece and Parts 1–4 c.1806–11

Turner Bequest CXVI A–E, I–R, T–V, X, Y; Vaughan Bequest CXVI S, CXVII V
The twenty-two works included in this section are finished designs, mostly in watercolour, for the twenty engravings issued in the first four parts of the Liber Studiorum, published between mid 1807 and early 1809 (see also general Liber introduction). The frontispiece is also included at the beginning of the sequence, although it was not issued until 1812 at what Turner intended to be the half-way point in the series. The designs for it and Basle (no.5 below) are in wash over impressions of Turner’s outline etchings, and no freehand watercolour equivalents are known. Scene on the French Coast (no.4) is represented in the Turner Bequest by both an original watercolour design and a washed etching. All the finished designs for these parts remained in the artist’s possession and were included in the Bequest, except nos.1 and 16, which were bequeathed later by Henry Vaughan.
Turner published the first part himself. The appearance of the first four parts within two years suggests he intended to issue the Liber at a steady rate, but it seems he soon found the role of publisher arduous, and passed the responsibility on to Charles Turner (see general Liber introduction), who published parts 2 to 4 himself, as well as engraving all the plates, as notified to subscribers on a slip issued with part 21 and indicated in the lettering of the plates and wrappers. During the Spring 1808 exhibition at his gallery, Turner wrote to his engraver on a proof of one of the plates in part 3, complaining that not only had any advertisements not been placed, but the plates for that part would apparently not be finished in time for the end of the exhibition in June.2 Charles Turner was responsible for one further part before the artist himself took over again as publisher for the rest of the series, employing various other engravers (see subsequent sections of the present catalogue).
1
Transcribed in Alexander J. Finberg, The History of Turner’s Liber Studiorum with a New Catalogue Raisonné, London 1924, p.xxxiii.
2
Ibid., p.xxxiv; transcribed, p.60.
Checklist:
The following checklist is in the standard Rawlinson/Finberg order3 (for the full series, see the general Liber Studiorum introduction). The compositions are listed with Turner’s published titles exactly as lettered and punctuated or, when published untitled, with customary titles in inverted commas, and with Turner’s categories such as ‘Pastoral’. Tate accession numbers and Turner Bequest numbers are given for the original drawings – or etchings with wash (nos.1 and 5) – acquired in the Turner and Vaughan Bequests, which have individual full catalogue entries. Impressions of the related etchings and engravings at Tate are noted briefly, as are Turner’s late paintings inspired by the series, and later versions of the prints by Frank Short and others.
1. (untitled) ‘Frontispiece’; lettered: This FRONTISPIECE to | LIBER STUDIORUM | is most respectfully presented to the Subscribers, by I,, M,, W,, Turner.
Tate D08150; Vaughan Bequest CXVII V. Etched by Turner; engraved by Turner and J.C. Easling; print, dated 23 May 1812, issued free to subscribers with part 10 (see catalogue section for Liber nos.22–51): Tate A00911, A00912; later engraved by Thomas Lupton; later engraved by Sir Frank Short: Tate T05042; late painting by Turner: Taft Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio
Part 1: dates of publication not inscribed (probably 11 June 1807, inferred from a contemporary entry in Joseph Farington’s diary4 – see general Liber introduction):
2. (untitled) ‘Bridge and Cows’
Pastoral: Tate D08102; Turner Bequest CXVI A. Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00913, A00914; later engraved by Thomas Lupton
3. (untitled) ‘Woman and Tambourine’
EP: Tate D08103; Turner Bequest CXVI B. Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00915, A00916; later engraved by Thomas Lupton; later painting by Turner: Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts, Japan
4. (untitled) ‘Scene on the French Coast’
Marine: Tate D08104 and D08105; Turner Bequest CXVI C, D. Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00917, A00918
5. BASLE
Architectural: Tate D08110; Turner Bequest CXVI I. Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00919, A00920
6. Jason.
Historical: Tate D08106; Turner Bequest CXVI E. Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00921, A00922
Part 2: all prints dated 20 February 1808
7. (untitled) ‘The Straw Yard’
Pastoral: Tate D08111; Turner Bequest CXVI J. Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00923, A00924
8. (untitled) ‘The Castle above the Meadows’
EP: Tate D08112; Turner Bequest CXVI K. Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00925, A00926; late painting by Turner: Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool
9. MT. ST. GOTHARD.
Mountainous: Tate D08113; Turner Bequest CXVI L. Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00927, A00928; later etched by Thomas Lupton; later engraved by Sir Frank Short: Tate T05055, T05056
10. (untitled) ‘Ships in a Breeze’; lettered: In the possession of the Earl of Egremont.
Marine: Tate D08114; Turner Bequest CXVI M. Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00929, A00930
11. HOLY ISLAND CATHEDRAL.
Architectural: Tate D08115; Turner Bequest CXVI N. Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00931, A00932
Part 3: all prints dated 10 June 1808
12. PEMBURY MILL, KENT.
Pastoral: Tate D08116; Turner Bequest CXVI O. Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00933, A00934; later engraved by Thomas Lupton
13. (untitled) ‘The Bridge in the Middle Distance’
EP: Tate D08117; Turner Bequest CXVI P. Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00935, A00936; later painting by Turner: private collection, Japan
14. Duntanborough Castle the Picture in the possession of W,, Penn Esqr. [sic: i.e. Dunstanborough or Dunstanburgh]
Architectural: Tate D08118; Turner Bequest CXVI Q. Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00937, A00938
15. LAKE OF THUN, SWISS.
Mountainous: Tate D08119; Turner Bequest CXVI R. Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00939, A00940
16. The 5th Plague of Egypt the Picture late in the possession of W,, Beckford Esqr.
Historical: Tate D08120; Vaughan Bequest CXVI S. Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00941, A00942
Part 4: all prints dated 29 March 1809
17. (untitled) ‘The Farm-yard with the Cock’
Pastoral: Tate D08121; Turner Bequest CXVI T. Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00943, A00944
18. Drawing of the CLYDE. In the possession of J.M.W. Turner.
EP: Tate D08122; Turner Bequest CXVI U. Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00945, A00946; late painting by Turner: Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, National Museums Liverpool
19. LITTLE DEVILS BRIDGE over the RUSS above ALTDORFT SWISSD.
Mountainous: Tate D08123; Turner Bequest CXVI V (and CXVI W, now recorded as missing – see under D08123). Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00947, A00948, A00949; later engraved by Thomas Lupton; later engraved by Sir Frank Short: Tate T05043
20. (untitled) ‘The Leader Sea Piece’; lettered: Original Sketch of a Picture for W. Leader Esqr.
Marine: Tate D08125; Turner Bequest CXVI X. Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00950, A00951; later engraved by Sir Frank Short (no Tate impression)
21. MORPETH NORTHD.
Architectural: Tate D08126; Turner Bequest CXVI Y. Etched by Turner; engraved by Charles Turner: Tate A00952, A00953
3
W[illiam] G[eorge] Rawlinson, Turner’s Liber Studiorum, A Description and a Catalogue, Second Edition, Revised Throughout, London 1906; Finberg 1924.
4
13 June 1807, transcribed in Kathryn Cave ed., The Diary of Joseph Farington: Volume VIII: July 1806 – December 1807, New Haven and London 1982, p.3067; see also Finberg 1924, p.xxxii, and Gillian Forrester, Turner’s ‘Drawing Book’: The Liber Studiorum, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1996, p.12.

Matthew Imms
May 2006

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How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Liber Studiorum: The Frontispiece and Parts 1–4 c.1806–11’, subset, May 2006, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, December 2012, http://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/liber-studiorum-the-frontispiece-and-parts-1-4-r1131703, accessed 23 April 2014.