Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscription by Turner: Notes on Chemistry


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 88 × 113 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXV 55

Catalogue entry

Without suggesting Turner’s source, Joyce Townsend has analysed his list of terms: a pyrogen [sic] is produced by or produces fire, and the term can also refer medically to a fever-inducing substance; an opigen [sic] produces sap or juice; and a lipogen [sic] produces fat.1
This is the last of fourteen pages of notes on varnishes and colours resulting from chemical reactions, beginning on folio 62 verso (D09974) and working from the back of the sketchbook as now foliated. As discussed in the sketchbook’s Introduction, most are taken from William Nicholson’s 1808 Dictionary of Practical and Theoretical Chemistry. The three terms here have not been found in that publication, and Turner’s approximate, possibly phonetic, spelling may indicate an oral rather than a written source in this instance.2
Townsend 1992, p.6, with transcription (followed here with slight variations).
See Imms 2011, p.4.
Technical notes:
There is an ink blot showing through from the verso (D09960) towards the top right. There is a small, ringed spot of foxing at the centre, which also shows on the verso (D09960).

Matthew Imms
April 2014

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