Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscription by Turner: A Draft of Poetry


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 157 × 95 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXI 188

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the following lines of verse are inscribed towards the foot of the page:
Resplendent Season check Oblivion shade
[?Whose lib...] thy changfull forms he placd
[?Whose] beauteous beaming
From Putney Heights he all thy charms surveyd
And painted Nature thro’ [?descriptive] Eyes1
Lines one, four and five and the first two words of line two are in ink, with the rest being the exposed parts of an earlier pencil draft. There are one or two words in pencil overwritten and thus illegible at the beginning of the first line, and ‘From Putney’ in pencil at the beginning of the second line is overwritten in ink. The third line (in pencil) is effectively overwritten by the fourth (in ink), but remains legible as it is written on an upward slope.
This passage relates to the lines concerning the poet James Thomson on folios 278 recto and 277 verso (D09480, D09479; Turner Bequest CXXXI 189, 188a); it is a version of the penultimate verse on D09480, under which its significance is discussed.

Matthew Imms
April 2014

See Wilton and Turner 1990, p.178 (transcription, followed here with slight variations).

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