Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscription by Turner: A List of Names and Figures


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Support: 130 × 205 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXV 1

Catalogue entry

The left-hand side of the page is taken up with the following notes in pencil:
Sr Henry Mildmay    21 
Marquis of Lorne    21 
Earl of Essex       10.10 
H Mr Lacelles        5  5 
{ Mr [?Meredith] – –  
{ Mr Jones of Lewisham 
{ Mr Davis.   do 
{ Miss Palin 
{ Miss Hawkins 
{ Mr Gould 
{ [?Barnet] – 
Mr Munden              2  1  6
[?Cutler]             10  10
Mr Landseer
Colwell Hermitage Old House 
<...> Farm 
Mr Walker [?of] X 
Rosamonds Row - 
The names in the fifth and sixth lines are linked by a single curly bracket, as are the next five; Turner has written ‘Teaching’ to the left of the brackets, ascending vertically. Finberg reads what may be ‘Cutler’ as ‘Caller’, and the word crossed through before ‘Farm’ as ‘Chale’.
A second column at the top right comprises only two lines:
Mr Beckford for the P
Plague of Egypt -
Sir Henry Mildmay (1746–1808) probably bought, and, on the evidence of this entry may have commissioned, Turner’s picture of Fishermen Coming Ashore at Sunset, previous to a Gale, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1797 (344; currently untraced).1 It is generally referred to as ‘The Mildmay Sea-piece’ and is recorded in a plate later produced for Turner’s Liber Studiorum in 1812.2 ‘Mr Beckford’ is William Beckford (1760–1844), for whom Turner made several watercolour views of Fonthill in the later 1790s, and who bought his picture of The Fifth Plague of Egypt (Indianapolis Museum of Art)3 from the Royal Academy exhibition in 1799.
Most of the other names on Turner’s list are those of patrons who had commissioned watercolours, or of pupils taking lessons in watercolour from him (see note on the inscription inside front cover, D40756). The Hon. Edward Lascelles (1764–1814) was both pupil and patron.4 ‘Mr Landseer’ is presumably John Landseer (1769–1852), an engraver and print publisher with whom Turner worked on a set of views in the Isle of Wight.5 He visited the island later in 1795; see the Isle of Wight sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest XXIV).
As Finberg suggested,6 these notes seem to belong to a date rather later in the decade than 1795. In his Inventory he gave the fifth name on the list as ‘Mr Murwith’, qualifying it with a query; it is difficult to make out. He later proposed7 that it should be read ‘Mr J Harwick’ mentioned in an inscription. For ‘Mr Davis’ of Lewisham, compare the reference to ‘Miss Elizabeth Davies, Lewisham, Kent’ on the verso of a pupil’s copy-drawing (Tate D00868; Turner Bequest XXXII L).
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.2–3 no.3, pl.3 (engraving).
Alexander J. Finberg, The History of Turner’s Liber Studiorum with a New Catalogue Raisonné, London 1924, pp.157–60 no.40.
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.10–12 no.13, pl.10 (colour).
See David Hill, ‘“A Taste for the Arts”: Turner and the Patronage of Edward Lascelles of Harewood House’, Turner Studies, vol.4, no.2, Winter 1984, pp.24–33, and vol.5, no.1, Summer 1985, pp.30–46.
See Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, pp.318–19 nos.176–181.
MS note, Tate catalogue files.
MS note, Tate catalogue files.
Finberg 1909, I, p.43; see also p.44.

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop