Joseph Mallord William Turner

Profiles of Classical Columns

c.1808–11

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 87 × 117 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D08044
Turner Bequest CXIV 65

Catalogue entry

With the page turned vertically, the main sketch, annotated with what may be an ‘S’ and a ‘4’, appears to be the upright, left-hand profile of a classical column, with two even more summary profiles to its left. These are likely to relate to the preparations for Turner’s Royal Academy perspective lectures, beginning in January 1811, for which he made various more substantial architectural studies in this sketchbook (see the Introduction).
Technical notes:
Disrupting the pencil drawing are lines of ink offsetting showing that the page was once opposite an ink inscription written with the book turned horizontally. Finberg noted that ‘pp. 61–73’, i.e. folios 61recto–73 verso (D08038–D08057), ‘were all loose and in different bundles. Their sequence is therefore conjectural’.1 There is now no corresponding page elsewhere in the sketchbook from which this offsetting could have come, and the inscription is presumably lost. It was probably a further page of notes from the same source as those written in ink on the verso of the present leaf (D08045).

Matthew Imms
January 2012

1
Finberg 1909, I, p.312.

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