Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscriptions by Turner and Ann Wise: Accounts; Studies of Figures

c.1825

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 114 × 188 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D40969

Catalogue entry

This page is somewhat crowded with notes and sketches. At the outer edge, with the page turned vertically, is the following table in pencil:
Paid up to the – 10 of May Tuesday | [...]
Thursday –                             May 12 –    5
Thursday –    Ann Wise        May 19 –     5
Thursday       Ann Wise        June 2 –    10
Thursday       Ann Wise        June 21 –   15
Thursday       Ann Wise        June 28        5
Thursday       Ann Wise        July 3}      10
Thursday       Ann Wise        July 12} –
Thursday       Ann Wise        July 19}  .  10
Thursday       Ann Wise        July 27}
The column of months and day dates is obscured by mottled staining, and the reading here relies on Finberg’s.1 The immediate significance is uncertain, but the regularity and the amount, apparently in shillings, suggest weekly rent paid on one of Turner’s properties in Wapping, East London;2 the first five figures are repeated on folio 1 verso (D18596), where the total is given as ‘3,0’, or three pounds. Although the dates from 10 May to 2 June in this presumably continuous list correspond with the given days of the week in 1825, thereafter they do not (21 and 28 June being Tuesdays, 3 July a Sunday, 12 and 19 July Tuesdays, and 27 July a Wednesday).
Turner perhaps repeated the day in the first column in advance of anticipated weekly transactions which became slightly irregular, with two weeks’ payment being made together on three occasions, and three on another. In August 1825 he was abroad in the Low Countries, and it is possible that some of the drawings at each end of the sketchbook, including figure studies, may relate to that visit, although others show the familiar scene from the top of Richmond Hill (see the Introduction). The people seen from the back here at the top centre and towards the lower right do not appear particularly Continental, although perhaps at least some of those on folio 1 recto opposite (D18595) may be.
Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, at the bottom right is the Turner Bequest executors’ endorsement. The main inscription is all in the hand of Charles Turner: ‘No 343 Contains 45 Leaves | in Pencil & Color – | C Turner’. Below are the respective pencil initials, ‘C.L.E.’ and ‘JPK’, of Charles Lock Eastlake and John Prescott Knight.
1
Finberg 1909, II, p.646.
2
See Nicholas Powell, ‘Finance and Property’ in Evelyn Joll, Martin Butlin and Luke Herrmann (eds.), The Oxford Companion to J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 2001, p.108.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

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