Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Study of a Cloudy Sky


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 187 × 115 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCX a 1

Catalogue entry

Drawn with the page turned vertically and occupying only its top third, this small study of a cloudy sky includes a written note. There appears to be a shallow strip of landscape below. The dark upright towards the bottom right appears to represent a silhouetted standing figure, or possibly a vertical feature in the landscape. There is nothing to identify the setting of this, the only landscape sketch in a book largely comprising figure studies, except possibly what may be a letter ‘M’ at the top left.
Although Finberg’s Inventory gives this as page ‘1’, without the usual ‘a’ suffix to indicate a verso, it seems always to have been such. The recto is blank save for John Ruskin’s ‘1’ inscribed in red ink (now very faint) at the bottom right, and the corresponding Turner Bequest number ‘CCX(a) – 1’ stamped in black beside it.
Technical notes:
There is an irregular brown stain in the blank part of the drawing, which has seeped through from the recto and originates on the outside of the adjacent front cover.

Matthew Imms
January 2012

Read full Catalogue entry


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