Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Study Relating to ‘Dort, or Dordrecht’; an Architectural Plan; Inscription by Turner: Accounts

c.1817–18

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 89 × 112 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D12223
Turner Bequest CLIV a 69

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the foliation, the following accounts occupy the bottom right-hand quarter of the page:
Mr Fawkes        Bond          1200 
                 Note.          780 
Dort                            550  27  10 
Sir John Leicester’s Note       400  20 
                               2930 
Interest upon Sir John 2 years   47  10 
                                 40   – 
                               3017  10 
The ‘10’ at the end of the ‘Dort’ line is recorded by Finberg but the sketchbook has since been rebound too tightly to confirm this where the inscription runs into the gutter. It appears to be preceded by ‘27’ which, as there are only twenty shillings to a pound, appears to be an error on Turner’s part, as does the ‘20’ below.
Turner’s important Yorkshire patron and friend Walter Fawkes was spending far beyond his means at this time and around 1818 Turner lent him money and allowed significant invoices for pictures to go unsettled, albeit at an annual interest rate of £150, amounting to a debt of some £3000 by 1824.1 The first two lines here relate to that arrangement, as does the entry ‘Dort’, referring to the large painting Dort, or Dordrecht, the Dort Packet-Boat from Rotterdam Becalmed was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1818 (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven),2 and nominally bought by Fawkes for 500 guineas according to contemporary sources.3 Hamilton interprets the figures here4 as £1200 ‘on some unknown security’, and £780 in cash, together with a valuation of the painting, and in addition £400 lent in cash to another important patron, Sir John Leicester,5 with further amounts due in interest.
Dort, or Dordrecht is also mentioned in a list of pictures and prices on folio 59 recto (D12204; Turner Bequest CLIV a 58), and as a possible Liber Studiorum subject on folio 29 recto (D12165; Turner Bequest CLIV a 28).6 The drawing across the upper half of the present page shows the main aspects of the composition, although not ‘the reed bed on the right’;7 whether this indicates that the sketch, which differs in several other respects, was made before the painting was finished or from memory is a moot point. The significance of the small drawing towards the bottom left, apparently a plan of two rooms with a door between them, is unknown. Another slight sketch possibly relating to the Dort is on folio 68 verso (D12220; Turner Bequest CLIV a 67a).
1
See James Hamilton, ‘Fawkes, Walter Ramsden (1769–1825)’ in Evelyn Joll, Martin Butlin and Luke Herrmann (eds.), The Oxford Companion to J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 2001, p.105; and Hamilton 1997, p.186.
2
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.102–4 no.137, pl.140 (colour).
3
See ibid., p.102.
4
Hamilton 1997, p.324 note 18.
5
See Charles Sebag-Montefiore, ‘Leicester, Sir John Fleming (1762–1827)’ in Joll, Butlin and Herrmann 2001, pp.164–5.
6
See Forrester 1996, p.162.
7
Butlin and Joll 1984, p.103.

Matthew Imms
September 2013

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