Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscriptions by Turner: Notes and Place Names


Not on display
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 79 x 101 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Catalogue entry

Almost the whole page is taken up with the following pencil notes, made with a rather blunt pencil:
The Brittania [?Mail] | The advantage which the BM | [illegible words inserted above] over all others & that from these | [...] Ease and W[?u...] | they [?do...] E[...] and had | lesser than any of [?G...] | length and weight they [...] | each over [... ?tale] and | [... w...] | out of the [?R ...]
This reads as a transcription from an advertisement or article, but the source has yet to be identified. At the outer edge, with the page turned vertically and made with a rather sharper pencil, are the following notes:
Sc[...] of [...]   57    A[...]
[M R...]        5          6
D [?Ch...]
Basle                        6
It seems likely that these notes were already present when Turner wrote the longer passage. The significance is unclear, even with regard to the clearest word, which is apparently ‘Basle’. Turner had visited Basle (or Basel) in Switzerland in 1802, making it the subject of one of his Liber Studiorum designs a few years later (see under Tate D08110; Turner Bequest CXVI I), but otherwise only a few slight views in sketchbooks from the early 1840s, some years after the likely date of the present one, are identified with any certainty (Tate D32825, D32931, D33319, D33406, D33441; Turner Bequest CCCXXV 38a, CCCXXVI 26a, CCCXXX 52, CCCXXXI 1, 18a; see also the Between Olten and Basel sketchbook: Tate; Turner Bequest CCCL).
These are the only inscriptions in this sketchbook except the apparent draft of poetry on folio 42 verso and inside the back cover (D28947, D41221).
Technical notes:
The paper is stained around the edges from contact with the leather overlaps from the front cover over which it is pasted.

Matthew Imms
May 2014

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