Joseph Mallord William Turner

?The Thames Valley from Richmond Hill; Inscription by Turner: Printing Costs

c.1808–18

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 89 × 112 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D12140
Turner Bequest CLIV a 11 a

Catalogue entry

Written with the page turned vertically, Turner’s ink inscription (with ‘30’ in pencil at the end of the second line) takes up most of the page:
Engraving –                173  .  
Drawings                    52  .   10   30  
Letter press [?in] sheet     6  .  
printing . 500 [...]         4  .   10  
Large ditto                  3  .  
paper wrapper                5  
[...]  plates               21   –  6  
Contingent        x         28  . .  
Expenses                         
                           300      –  
            3    6      [?printing thick]  
30  
This reading largely follows Finberg’s transcription. He suggests that the fourth line reads ‘Printing 500 drwg’, i.e. drawings, but the last word is very unclear, and might be ‘same’. The sum is approximate, as the total is actually £293 and 6 shillings. There are similar notes on folios 10 verso and 12 recto opposite (D12138, D12141), the latter being a rough variation of the same sum in pencil, and all seem to relate to the costs involved in one of Turner’s many engraving projects.
Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the landscape sketch here continues across folio 12 recto opposite (D12141). It appears to have been drawn over the ink inscription. The overall sketch appears to show the classic view west up the bend of the Thames below Richmond Hill seen in a number of Turner’s works, most notably his large painting England: Richmond Hill, on the Prince Regent’s Birthday, exhibited in 1819 (Tate N00502).1 This identification is apparently confirmed by what is probably the word ‘Thames’ inscribed at the appropriate point on the opposite page. There are similar panoramic views on folios 10 verso–11 recto, 12 verso–13 recto and 13 verso–14 recto (D12138–D12139, D12142–D12145). For 1818 as the likely date of the drawing, see under D12138.

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.106–7 no.140, Pl.145 (colour).

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