Joseph Mallord William Turner

Leaving Home, for Rogers’s ‘Poems’


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache, graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 243 × 307 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXX 169

Catalogue entry

Leaving Home was engraved by Edward Goodall and published as an illustration to Part I of a long poem, ‘The Pleasures of Memory’ in the 1834 edition of Rogers’s Poems.1 The vignette appears as a complement to the following description:
The adventurous boy, that asks his little share,
And hies from home with many a gossip’s prayer,
Turns on the neighbouring hill, once more to see
The dear abode of peace and privacy;
And as he turns, the thatch among the trees,
The smoke’s blue wreaths ascending with the breeze,
The village-common spotted white with sheep,
The church-yard yews round which his fathers sleep;
All rouse Reflection’s sadly-pleasing train,
And oft he looks and weeps, and looks again.
(Poems, p.16)
In contrast to many of Turner’s illustrations to Rogers’s verses, Leaving Home offers an unusually direct interpretation of the poet’s words. Here we see the young adventurer gazing at the distant thatched roofs and church spire of his village. The soft pastel palette and golden lighting of Turner’s scene complement the nostalgic tone of Rogers’s description.
The pencilled lines and numbers framing the vignette would have been made by the engraver during the process of squaring-up the design for reduction.
Samuel Rogers, Poems, London 1834, p.15; W.G. Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., vol.II, London 1913, no.376. There is one impression in Tate’s collection (T04672).
Inscribed by unknown hands in pencil ‘10’ and ‘9’ and ‘34’ upper centre left and ‘14 a’ centre and ‘CCLXXX 169’ bottom centre and ‘D.27686’ bottom left. Also in red ink ‘1048’ bottom left
Stamped in black ‘CCLXXX 169’ centre

Meredith Gamer
August 2006

Read full Catalogue entry


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