Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Chart or Diagram Relating to Varnishes


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 88 × 113 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXV 62 a

Catalogue entry

The page is taken up with a rough diagram, the significance of which is unclear, though it could indicates the physical arrangement of varnishes and other ingredients in a studio or workshop. Each word is shown within a rough geometrical shape. The following run from left to right towards the top: ‘Corn’; ‘Mastick | Pure’; ‘Copal | mix’; ‘Copal | cold’; ‘Corn | V[...]’; ‘Copal | W’; ‘Animi’. Below ‘Copal cold’ in a box of its own is ‘Mastick | Pure’. Separate from this main group, ‘copal resin’ and ‘animi’ are noted at the bottom right corner, ascending between diagonal lines.1
This is the first of fourteen pages of notes on varnishes and colours resulting from chemical reactions, working back through the sketchbook to folio 55 recto (D09959). As discussed in the sketchbook’s Introduction, most are taken from William Nicholson’s 1808 Dictionary of Practical and Theoretical Chemistry, including recipes for varnishes noted on the recto of the present leaf, folios 61 verso and recto, and 60 verso (D09973–D09970), although Nicholson does not appear to be the source of the present diagram.2
See Townsend 1992, p.8 for transcription (followed here with slight variations).
See Imms 2011, p.4.
Technical notes:
A small, circled spot of foxing at the bottom centre shows through to the recto (D09973).

Matthew Imms
April 2014

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