Turner’s note comprises a single line in ink along the top edge of the page:
Worship of the Lingam or Phallus – Priapus
There are other passages concerning non-Christian religions on folios 40 recto and 41 recto (D08346, D08348). William Chubb has suggested that the source in the present case is likely to have been An Account of the Remains of the Worship of Priapus Lately Existing in Isernia, by the scholar-collector Richard Payne Knight (1751–1824), published by the Dilettanti Society in 1786; Knight was apparently unique at the time in using the form ‘lingam’ rather than ‘linga’ in discussing ‘the phallus of the Hindu god Siva’.1 His account has been described as ‘a thorough and graphic account of the sexual origins of ancient rites’.2 Ian Warrell has suggested a connection between the note here and the rapid ink sketch of sexual activity on folio 37 recto (D08342).3
Chubb speculates that Turner might have had access to Knight’s text through patrons with antiquarian interests such as Sir Richard Colt Hoare or indeed Knight himself, who commissioned a painting exhibited in 1808;4 he notes the presence of drawings in this sketchbook which may be from 1807 or earlier (see under folio 9 recto; D08297), implying that the notes here could have dated from that early,5 an important point in relation to the other two pages concerning religion, which possibly had some bearing on works of about 1808–9.
The outer edges of the page are stained from proximity to the leather overlaps under the paste-down inside the back cover (D40901).