Joseph Mallord William Turner

Hanging Plan for an Exhibition in Turner’s Gallery


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Support: 110 × 178 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXIX 45

Catalogue entry

It seems certain that this represents a hanging plan for an exhibition in Turner’s Gallery at his house in Harley Street, London. Turner exhibited selections of pictures there most years after its opening in 1804.1 The year of this particular arrangement is not certain but the dating of the sketchbook, together with the known dates of some of the pictures, would indicate 1813 or 1814, years for which, however, nothing is known about the exhibits.
Observing that Turner has annotated the plan with identifications of pictures but that some are illegible, Finberg added: ‘among those I have deciphered are : – “Marine,” “Dutch Fishermen,” “Tilbury,” “Hannibal,” “Sir J.” “Ivy B,” and “Hesp.”’ It is possible to add a few suggestions to Finberg’s readings, and also to comment on the relative sizes of the pictures indicated, given that we do know the sizes of some of those that can be positively identified:
[Top register from left to right]:
1. A picture approx. 1 x 1.3 m inscribed ‘Mawes’, must be St Mawes at the Pilchard Season (Tate N00484), 910 x 1205 mm, first exhibited in Turner’s Gallery in 1812.2
2. A small unidentified picture or watercolour, approx. 30 x 50 cm.
3. ‘Dutch Fishermen’ might be The Sun Rising through Vapour (National Gallery, London) first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1807 and more recently known to have been shown at Turner’s Gallery in 1810.3
4. A small unidentified picture or watercolour, approx. 30 x 50 cm.
5. A picture approx. 1 x 1.3 m inscribed ‘Tynem’ must be Teignmouth (Tate T03882; displayed at Petworth House), first exhibited at Turner’s Gallery in 1812.4
6. A picture approx. 1 x 1.3 m inscribed ‘Ham [?]’.
7. A picture approx. 1 x 1.3 m inscribed ‘Salt’ must be Saltash with the Water Ferry (Metropolitan Museum, New York) first exhibited in Turner’s Gallery in 1812.5
[Nos. 5–7 are shown as hanging contiguous to one another, which seems to indicate a close relationship. Perhaps they were all subjects relating to Turner’s tour to the South-West in 1811].
8. A picture or large watercolour, approx. 100 x 66 cm inscribed ‘Sr. [?]’.
9. A picture approx. 1 x 1.3 m inscribed ‘Tilbury’. Tilbury is on the Thames opposite Gravesend, and is otherwise unrecorded as a Turner subject, unless this picture is identifiable with an untraced painting of Gravesend recorded as being in Turner’s studio in December 1810.6 The dimensions of the lost painting are, however, known – approx. 1.14 x 1.5 m – and this seems larger (but only by a little) than the indicated size in the sketch, which is evidently no larger than those identified as 1 x 1.3m.
See Luke Herrmann, ‘Turner’s Gallery’, in Evelyn Joll, Martin Butlin and Luke Herrmann (eds.), The Oxford Companion to J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 2001, pp.349–50.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.87 no.123, pl.129.
Ibid., pp.53–4 no.69, pl.79.
Ibid., p.85 no.120, pl.127.
Ibid., pp.85–6 no.121, pl.125.
Ibid., p.127 no.206, pl.203.
Ibid., pp.88–90 no.126, pl.131.
Ibid., pp.86–7 no.122, pl.128.
Ibid., pp.44–6 no.57, pl.67.

David Hill
October 2008

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