Joseph Mallord William Turner

Study of the Vatican Meleager


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Chalk and watercolour on paper
Support: 307 mm
support: 354 × 307 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest V H

Technique and condition

This sheet is a white wove paper made using a double-faced mould. There is no watermark but Bower believes the maker is probably Whatman. The sheet has been hot pressed and very heavily sized.1 The bottom and top edges have been very unevenly cut and there is a considerable amount of surface dirt on both the recto and verso. In places the chalk has been abraded and some has been lost.
This is an early drawing in black chalk completed by Turner when he was a teenaged student at the Royal Academy. The drawing is tentative and has none of the fluidity of later works.

Helen Evans
August 2009

Revised by Joyce Townsend
February 2011

Peter Bower, ‘Turner’s Papers: A Catalogue of the Papers Used by J.M.W. Turner in the Turner Bequest, Clore Gallery, Tate Gallery. Part 1: 1787–1802: TB I–TB LXX’, 1994, Tate catalogue files, unpaginated.

Catalogue entry

The fourth-century BC statue of Meleager is usually attributed to the Greek sculptor Skopas; the marble copy in the Vatican Museum, Rome dates from the first century AD. The use of tone to model form is relatively sophisticated in this drawing. Areas of chalk have been rubbed, possibly wetted and brushed on, to suggest the use of wash. Another study of the Meleager is Tate D00062 (Turner Bequest V I).
Technical notes:
The edges of the sheet are irregularly trimmed.

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

Read full Catalogue entry

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