Joseph Mallord William Turner

Accounts; Itinerary of the 1824 Meuse-Moselle Tour


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and ink on paper
Support: 118 × 78 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXVI 270

Catalogue entry

This page is a rather untidy tangle of two sets of inscriptions, written by Turner at intervals in pencil and black ink. The first set has been inscribed with the sketchbook upturned, and shows a list of accounts. These financial calculations are most likely connected to similarly formatted accounts written on the folio opposite (Tate D20079; Turner Bequest CCXVI 269a). They probably represent income or expenditure and are dated for the year 1824, for the months of May and July. The entries in bold represent those inscribed in black ink. It is transcribed thus:
 1546     ––       4 May         20
 1507               21 May         10
18868              19 May         50
  3580              25 May         10
  1465              27 July          10
         9                                     50
The last entry of these accounts is dated 27 July 1824, just a fortnight or so before Turner set off for the continent to begin his tour of the Meuse-Moselle region. As Cecilia Powell writes, ‘it seems entirely natural’ that the artist ‘should have chosen this particular moment to take stock of his financial position’ before the commencement of an extensive tour, and ‘that he should have done so in the same notebook’ that he would use to record the tour itself.1
A few weeks later then, on this same sheet, Turner inscribed a dated itinerary of the 1824 Meuse-Moselle tour, writing out the schedule either in instalments as he went along or once the tour was complete. The itinerary was inscribed with the sketchbook turned in reverse to the accounts, and becomes legible when viewed in accordance with the foliation. Given that Turner’s sketchbooks and the drawings within them are rarely dated, this itinerary is a very valuable document indeed and has enabled art historians to more or less identify the exact days of each drawing’s creation. The schedule begins at 10 August 1824, when Turner left England, and concludes on 15 September at Calais. It is transcribed thus:

Alice Rylance-Watson
June 2014

Powell 1991, p.39.
Ibid, pp.38–9.

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