Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Cloudy Sky

1821

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 113 × 115 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D18839
Turner Bequest CCXIII 90

Catalogue entry

This page comprises a watercolour study of billowing clouds, a significant portion of which has been cut off. The leaf’s dating and current condition are discussed in the Technical notes below.
Technical notes:
This side of the leaf was not mentioned in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory; instead, he noted: ‘The following two pages may belong to this book. They agree in size and water mark. Page 90 has been cut down, and the two leaves mounted on cartridge.’1 The pencil drawing on the verso (D40984) is continuous with the full-page drawing on folio 87 recto (D18840; Turner Bequest CCXIII 91).
The two leaves were presumably bound in here as part of the programme of consolidation and restoration of Turner Bequest sketchbooks at the British Museum following the 1928 Tate flood; in fact, the association is spurious. The outer part of the present leaf, measuring 113 x 79 mm, survives elsewhere in the Bequest, listed by Finberg in one of his groupings of separate sheets; see Tate D25519 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII a 4) and its verso (D40311). The clouds on the present page are continued on D40311, while D25519 is a small pencil study, separate from the drawing on D40984 and D18840; as discussed under D40984, it serves to connect the two leaves with the 1821 Paris, Seine and Dieppe sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CCXI).2
The use of watercolour wash in the sky studies here and on D18840 can be associated with two watercolour sky studies remaining in the Paris, Seine and Dieppe book (Tate D18529 and D18530; Turner Bequest CCXI 3, 4).

Matthew Imms
December 2014

1
A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.II, p.650.
2
See Warrell 1999, pp.24, 265 under no.6.

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