Joseph Mallord William Turner

Study for ‘The Goddess of Discord Choosing the Apple of Contention in the Garden of the Hesperides’


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink on paper
Support: 171 × 262 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XCIII 3

Catalogue entry

See note to folio 1 verso of the sketchbook (D05767) for its various sketches and studies related to The Goddess of Discord Choosing the Apple of Contention in the Garden of the Hesperides exhibited at the British Institution in 1806 (Tate N00477).1 In the case of this rough composition study, Finberg thought the background, which is shaded in black chalk, suggestive of the picture but suspected ‘the figures point to another subject, – possibly one of the labours of Hercules’. Hill, while acknowledging that the sketch seems ‘more dramatic’ than the picture, rightly observes that ‘all the main elements are present, even down to the fallen [tree] trunk in the right foreground’. He also notes the likely derivation from Alpine scenery which Turner had seen in 1802, a connection that is pronounced in the picture. See also folio 30 (D05816) for a sketch of landscape background, again Alpine in character and probably also related to the picture.

David Blayney Brown
October 2007

Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.44–6 no.57 (pl.67).

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