Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscriptions by Turner: Technical and Meteorological Notes; Studies of the Sun behind Clouds


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 98 × 76 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLXIII 5 a

Catalogue entry

Turner used the page vertically. At the top are the jotted names of paper-related businesses. ‘Spalding and Hodge’ were stationers in Drury Lane, London,1 while ‘Grosvenor and Chater’ evidently refers to Grosvenor, Chater and Company, Wholesale Stationers, a long-established firm located at this time at 11 Cornhill, London, who later supplied the watercolourist David Cox (1783–1859).2 The reference to ‘Dodd, Drury Lane’ is as yet unclear.
Across the middle of the page is a study of a low sun behind clouds with trees or other vertical features to the right. Towards the bottom left is a related study, of the sun alone. Below a horizontal pencil line dividing the page between the two sketches is a half-legible note, tentatively readable as ‘[?not to be ... the last | Light of the sun until morng]’.
Above the gutter, below the second sketch is another two-line note of which the two occurrences of ‘sky’ in the first line are the only clear words. The second passage is disrupted by a slight continuation of the bridge from the view of Sandwich on folio 6 recto opposite (D35767), where there are other notes concerning sunset effects at Margate.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

See ‘Exeter Working Papers in British Book Trade History; The London book trades 1775–1800: a preliminary checklist of members. Names S’, Exeter Working Papers in Book History, accessed 15 February 2016,
See Peter Bower, Turner’s Later Papers: A Study of the Manufacture, Selection and Use of his Drawing Papers 1820–1851, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.133 note 4.

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