Joseph Mallord William Turner

Dido and Aeneas Hunting: Storm Approaching


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Support: 117 × 182 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XCVIII 2

Catalogue entry

For the two subjects in this sketchbook illustrating Virgil’s Aeneid, see Introduction to the sketchbook and folios 1 (D06180) and 1 verso (D06181). 1 verso has slight indications of tree tops extending from the present composition.
As Nicholson observes, this represents the continuation later in the day of the hunting party laid on by Dido outside her city of Carthage for her guest Aeneas. Turner painted its beginnings at dawn in Dido and Aeneas exhibited in 1814 (Tate N00494).1 In the afternoon, a storm blew up, driving Dido and Aeneas into a cave where they consummated their passion (Aeneid, Book 4, 231–46). The waving trees and billowing drapery in the drawing suggest the onset of the storm, but Turner has not gone so far as to detail the torrents and flashes of lightning and fire described by Virgil at its climax.
See catalogue note to folio 3 (D06183) for the technical and thematic relationship between this subject and that of Ulysses and Nausicaa from Homer’s Odyssey.

David Blayney Brown
July 2008

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.92–3 no.129 (pl.135).

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