Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscriptions by Turner: Notes on Spring Flowers and Trees


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 76 × 98 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLXIII 41

Catalogue entry

With the page turned vertically, the upper half is taken up with the following notes
May – [... W]
Blossoms Apple Cherry Lilac
Small white flowers in the [B...] Hedges
in Clusters, Dk Blue Bells
Butter cups, and daisies in the fields
Oak. Warm, Elm G. Ash yellow
[?Ox slip] and [...] by [?the ...]
The last line is preceded by what may be a small drawing of flowers. Towards the foot of the page is a further observation:
The [?Plantagenet flower ...?Lilac ...]
Again, there is a small drawing of a ‘flower’, this time in the middle of the line after that word.
Going by Finberg’s mistakenly late dating of 1845–6 and placing of this sketchbook at the end of his 1909 Inventory’s sequence (see the Introduction), C.L. Hind took this example of Turner’s occasional written natural history notes (see for example Tate D03719, D12133; Turner Bequest LXI 63v, CLIV a 7) as an ‘utterance of joy in nature ... seen by his old eyes, and recorded tremblingly in his last Sketch-Book’,1 while Anthony Bailey noted the ‘terrible hand’,2 attributing this to the artist’s supposedly advanced age.
See also the written observations of a sunset effect on folio 6 recto (D35767).

Matthew Imms
September 2016

Hind 1910, p.221.
Bailey 1997, p.389; see also p.388 concerning the dating of this sketchbook.

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