Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscription by Turner: A Draft of a Speech or Letter Concerning the Royal Academy


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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

Catalogue entry

The fragment remaining attached to the book at the top left has been set into a new, blank leaf. The rest of the leaf was presumably torn out and discarded. The following transcription of the opening words of each line is based on Finberg’s:1
The honor you have conf
Royal Academy [...]
Academy and
in offering my th
part of it. [?For]
most heartfelt
towards the [...]
when the var[...]
the [?encouragement]
by the very e[...]
This does indeed seem to be the draft of a speech, as Finberg proposes, or perhaps a letter. Turner’s of 11 July 1816 to thank Benjamin West, President of the Royal Academy, for a medal (struck in West’s own honour) is couched in similarly ingratiating terms,2 although there does not seem to be a direct correlation in the phrasing.
For other manuscript material in this sketchbook, see the Introduction.

Matthew Imms
July 2014

Finberg 1909, I, p.379.
John Gage, Collected Correspondence of J.M.W. Turner with an Early Diary and a Memoir by George Jones, Oxford 1980, pp.66–7 letter no.64.

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