Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscription by Turner: Notes on Painting in Relation to Poetry


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink on paper
Support: 115 × 88 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CVIII 52 a

Catalogue entry

The whole page is taken up with the following notes:
Tho different the allurements but yet in the | sentiment produce the Painter receives only | the reward of having colored the Poet while | the power of the Painter over other words | the difficulty he has surmounted <...> is | lost to his merit for having given it to the | eyes of every one, that he allowed to be | Poetic and seeking the acceptation | of the utmost of his power having to be | if he succeeds as to be poetical, while | he attends to the difficulties of his art and | should omitt, what in many instances when | is from tantamount [?or ‘testament’] to the beauty of the poet | what in his language of Painting is ever | distant and Paradoxical [?it is say he] | [?then ...] the author to blend known | hues he is considered answerable to the1
These notes are part of a sequence beginning at folio 53 verso (see entry for D07448) and continuing back through the sketchbook to folio 48 verso (D07438). In his partial transcription of this page, Jerrold Ziff reads ‘allurements’ as ‘attempt’ and ‘Poet while’ in the third line as ‘poet’s [words]’.2 The next passage continues in mid-sentence on folio 51 verso (D07444).

Matthew Imms
June 2008

See Wilton and Turner 1990, p.137 (transcription, followed here with slight variations).
Ziff 1964, p.164.

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like