Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Library at Abbotsford


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 × 185 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXVII 65

Catalogue entry

Continued from folio 62 verso (D26037; CCLXVII 64a) with the book inverted is a sketch of the Library at Abbotsford. At the right of the present page, at the centre of the east wall, is a specially designed niche within which stood a bust of William Shakespeare on an ornate pedestal.1 To the left of this is a roll-top desk (or escritoire, as it was referred to by Scott).2
The left half of this page shows the northern wall of the Library. The eastern corner of this wall appears foreshortened in Turner’s panoramic sketch. The large bay window contains what Scott referred to as his ‘consulting desk’, a square table with four inclined faces.3 Either side of the desk are two armchairs, apparently designed by Andrea Brustolon.4 Above the bay window Turner has indicated part of the moulded ceiling by drawing squares with crosses in them.
For the rest of the sketch and references to Turner’s other sketches of the interior of Abbotsford, see folio 62 verso.

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

Clive Wainwright, The Romantic Interior: the British Collector at Home,1750–1850, London 1989, pp.165 pl.143, 190; Shakespeare’s bust has now been replaced with a bust of Scott by Sir Francis Chantrey, 1820.
Ibid., pp.190, 191 pl.158.
Ibid., pp.192 reproduced pl.159, 193.
Ibid., pp.193 reproduced pl.160, 194.

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