Joseph Mallord William Turner

Distant View of the Isle of Man


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 83 × 114 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXIII 48 a

Catalogue entry

Drawn with the sketchbook inverted. This very slight outline of the island on the horizon is taken from St Bees, which Turner visited in 1809. ‘White’ is presumably a reference to Whitehaven north of St Bees.
Turner’s inscription in ink reads:
Anaxagorus, A,,gar,tha,,chus | the sun 95 millions of miles distant | The Earth equal to 18 seconds of a degree | the 1200 seconds | the Moon nearly the apparent size of E.
For Anaxagoras and Agatharcus see the Greenwich and Perspective sketchbooks (Tate D06728; Turner Bequest CII 4a and Tate D07423; Turner Bequest CVIII 41). However, Turner may intend to refer to Aristarchus (circa 310–230BC) who concluded that the sun is larger than the earth.

David Blayney Brown
July 2009

Read full Catalogue entry

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