Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscription by Turner: Notes from Viator (Jean Pélerin)

c.1809

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Pen and ink and graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 88 x 115 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D07458
Turner Bequest CVIII 61

Catalogue entry

Most of the page is taken up with the following notes:
Anno Duigesimo quito supaza | milisimu ad nonu. Calendes | Iulais Solerti opera petri | iacobi pbzi Incole pagi sancti | Printed Nicola
Look at Pilkington
The last line is in pencil, and refers to Matthew Pilkington’s Gentleman’s and Connoisseur’s Dictionary of Painters, from which Turner took notes, probably from the revised 1798 edition, on folios 5 verso (D07364), 6 recto (D07365), and 27 verso (D07397).
Maurice Davies has identified the source of the main inscription as the sixth, unnumbered page from the end of Viator (Jean Pélerin), De Artificiali Perspectiva, Toul 1505.1 Turner is attempting to transcribe part of the Latin colophon, set in a heavy Gothic font: ‘Impressum Tulli. Anno catholice veritas Duig¿tisimo quito supza Milesimu: Ad nonu Calendes Julias, solerti opera petri iacobi pbzi/Incole pagi Sancti Nicolai.’2 Davies has observed that Turner had difficulty identifying his source, as in Turner’s words the copy he consulted at the British Museum (since transferred to the British Library, London) ‘has no title page’.3 He attempted to translate the colophon on folio 27 recto (D07396), where he also copied a diagram from the book. There are further notes from the same source on folios 26 verso (D07395) and 44 recto (D07429).
1
Davies 1994, p.289.
2
See also transcription with slight variations in Davies 1994, p.308 note 55.
3
Davies 1994 pp.88, 308 note 54, quoting Turner’s note in his ‘Royal Academy Lectures’, circa 1807–38, Department of Western Manuscripts, British Library, London, ADD MS 46151 F folio 2 verso.
Technical notes:
There is a heavy ink blot towards the centre, which has also been offset from the page opposite, folio 60 verso (D07457).

Matthew Imms
June 2008

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