Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Sideboard Containing Farnley Relics


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXI 7

Catalogue entry

One of several sketches in this book made at Farnley Hall (see folio 6: Tate D18533; Turner Bequest CCXI 6), this drawing depicts a sideboard containing Walter Fawkes’s collection of relics from the Civil War which he inherited from General Thomas Fairfax (1612–1671). Turner had produced an album of watercolours related to this collection entitled Fairfaxiana, one of which depicts the same cabinet: Fairfaxiana – Cabinet with Opening Door, c.1815 (private collection).1 Comparing the present sketch with the watercolour reveals that on the present occasion the artist has not included the feet, the top, or the doors. This comparison also reveals several changes to the arrangement of items in the cabinet. Most notable the painting of Oliver Cromwell has been moved from the centre of the bottom shelf to the right, and replaced with a drum. Turner has indicated this object as a rough outline and inscription. A sketch of a drum on folio 26 verso (Tate D18564; Turner Bequest CCXI 26a) is likely to depict the same item in more detail.
The inscriptions to the left of the sketch indicate that the top shelf is ‘1 [foot], 4 [inches]’ high and has ‘Glass’ doors or a glass window. The bottom shelf is ‘1’ foot high, and the shelves and feet beneath it (not depicted) are ‘1 [foot], 6 [inches]’. To the left of the top shelf is the ‘watch of oli | Oliver Cromwell’, numbered ‘6’. To its right, the handle of a sword that lies across the length of the shelf is numbered ‘7’ and inscribed ‘sword’ below. At the centre of that shelf is a plaque inscribed ‘FARFAXIANA’, and at the right another item with an undecipherable inscription: ?‘C S K’. An inscription to the right of the top shelf indicates that a second sword is ‘Geoff Sir | Lambert[’s] Sword’. Mirroring the watch on the right is the ‘Seal of the | Commonwealth | to the | [?] appropriate | [?]number’. A ‘yellow’ fringe runs along the bottom of the top shelf, and there are portraits, the middle one being an equestrian portrait.
At the left of the bottom shelf is the wide-brimmed hat of Oliver Cromwell,2 between two candlesticks. The drum is at the centre, and the portrait of Cromwell at the right. Inscriptions at the right are: ‘Oliver Cromwell | [?]elaborate portrait by Corper | by the [?]Portraitist himself | [?]Suffolk | Sydney Col. | Cumbray’.

Thomas Ardill
March 2013

See Hill, Warburton, Tussey et al., 1980, p.49 no.73.
James Hamilton, Turner: A Life, London 1997, p.171.

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