Joseph Mallord William Turner

Four Landscapes and Harbours with Classical Buildings


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 225 × 365 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 365

Catalogue entry

There are four compositions here, the lower two being inverted relative to the upper. They are harbour scenes and wooded landscapes with classical buildings, in rapid permutations of the landscape and seaport motifs of Claude Lorrain, a consistent influence on Turner (see the Introduction to this subsection). Those on the right both feature a characteristic low sun and its rippled reflection, as seen in the major paintings Dido Building Carthage; or the Rise of the Carthaginian Empire, exhibited in 1815 (Turner Bequest, National Gallery, London),1 The Decline of the Carthaginian Empire, shown in 1817 (Tate N00499),2 and Dido Directing the Equipment of the Fleet, or The Morning of the Carthaginian Empire, shown in 1828 (Tate N00506).3
Tate D34851–D34856 (Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 363–368) are all on two sides of a quartered single sheet, as discussed in the technical notes; the other quarters were also mainly used for landscape studies, as described under D34851, where there is also a note on dating.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.94–6 no.131, pl.133 (colour).
Ibid., pp.100–1 no.135, pl.137 (colour).
Ibid., pp.149–50 no.241, pl.243.
Technical notes:
Tate D34851–D34856 (Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 363–368) are all on two sides of a single sheet folded into quarters, with the watermark ‘John Hall | 1828’ exactly at the centre; each averages approximately 183 x 213 mm of the overall dimensions. Finberg listed them individually as ‘folded’,1 albeit without noting their all being on one sheet; once folded firmly into four, they were lightly folded twice more, leaving three parallel creases across each quarter.
In terms of the whole sheet when aligned vertically, D34851–D34854 (CCCXLIV 363–366) are on one side, at the top left, bottom left, top right and bottom right relative to each other. D34855 and D34856 (CCCXLIV 367, 368) are on the other side, at the bottom left and right relative to each other, the upper half being blank. The sheet is almost ripped in half by a jagged tear along the right-hand half of the horizontal fold (that is, the left-hand edge of the present quarter viewed independently); it also extends diagonally across D34851.
See Finberg 1909, II, p.1143.

Matthew Imms
August 2016

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