Joseph Mallord William Turner

Study of a Cloudy Sky

c.1808–18

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 89 x 112 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D12237
Turner Bequest CLIV a 76 a

Catalogue entry

As set out under folio 7 verso (D12134), there are nearly thirty pages of cloud studies in this sketchbook, some, as here (inverted relative to the foliation), being annotated with colours and other observations. The last two words of Finberg’s attempted transcription, ‘Raby drag’ do not appear likely; Finberg was perhaps seeking a connection with Turner’s oil Raby Castle, the Seat of the Earl of Darlington (Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore), exhibited in 1818,1 and listed on folio 59 recto (D12204; CLIV a 58) – see also the extensive studies in the 1817 Raby sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CLVI). The first word seems to be ‘Ruby’, also used as a note in the sky. The second, repeated later in Turner’s last line and possibly at the top right of the page, is elusive; although the words ‘drab’ and ‘grey’ appear on adjacent studies, it does not appear to be either.

Matthew Imms
September 2013

1
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.101–2 no.136, pl.142 (colour).

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