Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscriptions by Turner: Monogram-Style Signatures; with ?Diagrams


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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

Catalogue entry

As with the single rendering of his name on the recto of folio 68, the last leaf in the sketchbook (D09985), Turner’s prominent inscriptions appear to be doodles interlinking the letters of his surname in a curlicued semi-monogram, mostly with the vertical stroke of the ‘T’ held within the ‘U’, and the ‘E’ and ‘R’ combined. The playfulness of the exercise is emphasised by the scrolls drawn in round the teeth securing the cover’s clasp at the top centre, and the intermittent outlining of the irregular edge of the cover’s leather overlaps, visible through this endpaper.
There are also curves and more complex forms indicated in pencil, but their function is unclear. They may be one or more maps or plans, or another form of diagram. Finberg makes no mention of the page in his 1909 Inventory.1

Matthew Imms
April 2014

See A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.I, p.384.

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