Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches and Inscriptions in a Copy of Rogers’s ‘Poems’

c.1830–2

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Line engraving and graphite on paper
Dimensions
None
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D36330
Turner Bequest CCCLXVI

Catalogue entry

This is one of two printed books listed after Turner’s conventional sketchbooks towards the end of Finberg’s 1909 Turner Bequest Inventory, on account of containing annotations and sketches by the artist. It is a trade copy of the 1827 edition of Samuel Rogers’s Poems, issued in plain boards without cloth or leather covering (to be added at the owner’s preference); as recognised by Finberg,1 it was used during the planning of Turner’s vignette watercolours to be engraved for the 1834 edition. This followed the great success of the 1830 edition of Rogers’s Italy, in a similar format with illustrations after Turner. Meredith Gamer has dealt with both these Rogers projects in detail in her entries in the present section for the watercolours and studies remaining in the Turner Bequest.
The other annotated book mentioned above, Tate D36331 (Turner Bequest CCCLXVII), is a copy of H.A.O. Reichard’s Itinerary of Italy (London 1818), used on the 1819 Italian tour and containing occasional thumbnail figure drawings and notes.2 Turner had also used his interleaved copy of Nathaniel Coltman’s The British Itinerary, known as the Devonshire Coast, No.1 sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CXXIII), far more programmatically on his 1811 tour of the West Country.
This Rogers volume was not treated in page-by-page detail by Finberg, and bears a single Tate accession number rather than one for each recto and any versos with drawings or inscriptions, as is customary with the sketchbooks; it is hence dealt with here in one continuous entry. As set out in full below, it includes various brief written notes, marks against passages of interest including blank ‘frames’ and small drawings of imagery evoked by the immediately adjacent lines; some, as Anne Lyles and Diane Perkins have noted, are ‘very close to his final treatment’,3 others much less so. Jan Piggott has suggested that Turner’s initials (see pages 46 and 47) suggest ‘sessions of negotiation with Rogers and Stothard’.4
The accomplished neo-classical painter and illustrator Thomas Stothard (1755–1834) had produced numerous attractive but less technically sophisticated vignettes of figures, first used in the 1812 edition and again in 1827,5 and would contribute designs in a similar spirit to be engraved more subtly on steel for the 1834 edition, while Turner focused on landscapes.6 Adele Holcomb has seen the range of the latter’s interventions here as showing that he ‘proposed subjects ... based on his reading of the text. While such a conclusion must remain tentative, it does not seem likely that Turner would have examined and marked the text ... if the subjects had been unilaterally chosen by Rogers’, suggesting that a ‘process of give and take’ was in play.7

Matthew Imms
September 2016

1
Finberg 1909, II, p.1217; see also Omer 1975, p.[10], Omer 1976, p.11, Wilton 1979, p.436, Lyles 1992, p.51, and Piggott 2001, p.266.
2
See Finberg 1909, II, p.1218.
3
Lyles and Perkins 1989, p.71.
4
Piggott 1993, p.21.
5
Ibid., p.40.
6
See Martin Butlin, ‘Stothard, Thomas (1755–1834)’ in Joll, Butlin and Herrmann 2001, p.310.
7
Holcomb 1966, p.84; see also Omer 1975, p.[23], and Omer 1976, p.26.
8
See Omer 1975, p.[14] note 24, and Omer 1976, p.17 noe 24..
9
See Holcomb 1966, p.85
10
Ibid.
11
Ibid.
12
Ibid.
13
Ibid.
14
Ibid.
15
Ibid.
16
See Powell 1987, p.176; see also Powell 1984, p.359 note 44, and Nicholson 1990, p.141 note 69.
17
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.233–4 no.381, pl.385 (colour).
18
See Holcomb 1966, p.85.
19
Ibid.
20
Ibid.
21
Ibid.
22
Ibid., pp.85–6.
23
Ibid., p.86.
24
Ibid.
25
Ibid.
26
Ibid.
27
Ibid.
28
Ibid.
29
Ibid.
30
Ibid., p.87.
31
Ibid.
32
Ibid.
33
Ibid.
34
Ibid., p.88.
35
Lyles and Perkins 1989, p.71; see also p.70, reproducing pp.184–5.
36
See Holcomb 1966, p.88.
37
Ibid.
38
Ibid.
39
Ibid., p.87.
40
Ibid., p.88.
41
See Piggott 1993, p.92.
42
See Holcomb 1966, pp.88–9.
43
Ibid., p.89.
44
See Omer 1975, pp.[10], [14] note 24, and fig.4; see also Omer 1976, pp.12, 26, and Abb.4.
45
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.198–9 p.347, pl.350 (colour).
46
Holcomb 1966, p.89.
47
Ibid., pp.89–90.
48
Ibid., p.90.
49
Ibid., p.91.
50
Ibid., p.92.
51
Ibid., p.91.
52
Ibid., p.92.
53
Ibid.
54
Ibid., pp.92–3.
55
Summarised by Jan Piggott, ‘Thomson, James (1700–48)’ in Joll, Butlin and Herrmann 2001, pp.336–7.
56
See Holcomb 1966, p.93.
57
Ibid.
58
Ibid.
59
Ibid.
60
Ibid.
61
Ibid.
62
Ibid., p.94.
63
Ibid., pp.94–5.
64
Ibid., pp.95–6.
65
Ibid., pp.96–7.

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