Joseph Mallord William Turner

Costings for the ‘Liber Studiorum’ (Inscriptions by Turner)

c.1809–14

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 110 × 88 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D07749
Turner Bequest CXI 97 a

Catalogue entry

Turner’s inscriptions, mainly in pencil; but with several numbers in ink, read:
81 Prints at 15             £60     15     0 
16 Proofs at 25              20      0     0 
                             80     15
     
 4 Proofs Miller 12 P.  
 3 Prints to Holworthy 
 3 Delamotte 
 6 Miss Parr 
16 
     
          100 Prints  – at 15        75     15 
           20 Proofs  – at 25        24      9 
           one Number               100.  
     
Expenses of one Number               61      1     6 
                    clear.           39     19     6 
 20 
 16 
120     320 
Turner lists expenses and receipts for the Liber Studiorum including sales of prints. The engraver William Miller (1796–1882) was presumably too young to be the buyer named here. The next must be the artist James Holworthy (1781–1841) who paid for a first number of the Liber on 19 March 1814, as observed by John Gage who, nevertheless, dates Holworthy’s appearance in this sketchbook to 1811.1 The artist William Delamotte (1775–1863) was already a collector of Turner and an enthusiast of his prints. Miss Parr is unidentified.
Turner assumes 120 subscriptions for plates, initially at fifteen shillings per number for prints and twenty-five for proofs. Allowing for costs against sales, he estimates the clear profit of one number of the Liber at £39. 19. 6 which he rounds up to £40 when continuing his sums on folio 96 verso of the sketchbook (D07747).

David Blayney Brown
May 2011

1
Gage 1980, p.260.

Read full Catalogue entry

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