Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Three-Masted Ship; Salisbury Plain with Stonehenge


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Ink and graphite on paper
Support: 135 × 210 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXIX 42

Catalogue entry

Wilt the page turned horizontally, towards the gutter is a continuation of the masts of the ship drawn on folio 41 verso opposite (D04045). The present page also includes a rough diagrammatic sketch of Stonehenge on a distant skyline. There are several drawings of Stonehenge in this book; see in particular folio 79 recto (D04090), and also folio 80 recto (D04091).
Although he is likely to have passed the monument on his way through Wiltshire to reach Salisbury and Fonthill in connection with work on commissions from Sir Richard Colt Hoare and William Beckford – see the Salisbury and Fonthill sketchbooks (Tate; Turner Bequest XLIX, XLVII), in use in 1799 –Turner’s interest in the famous stone circle at this juncture may have been prompted by his meditations on the subject of the Bards and the landscape of Ancient Britain; see Tate D04164 and D04168 (Turner Bequest LXX M,1 Q).
In about 1824 Turner was to make a wash design of Stonehenge seen from the road (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), mezzotinted either by himself or by Thomas Lupton for the Liber Studiorum but never published.2 In about 1827 he made Stonehenge one of the watercolour subjects for his Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum),3 engraved in 1829 (Tate impressions: T04548, T04549, T06083). See also Matthew Imms’s introduction to the Stonehenge sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CXXV b) in the ‘West Country 1811’ section of this catalogue).
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.329 no.263, pl.52.
See Gillian Forrester, Turner’s ‘Drawing Book’: The Liber Studiorum, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1996, p.145 no.81, reproducing both the Boston work and a late impression (Royal Academy of Arts, London).
Wilton 1979, pp.394–5 no.811, reproduced.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Revised by Matthew Imms
March 2015

Read full Catalogue entry

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