Joseph Mallord William Turner

Verses (Inscription by Turner)

c.1807–8

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 108 × 107 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D06618
Turner Bequest CI

Catalogue entry

Finberg did not record this inscription. See Introduction and note to folio 85 verso of the sketchbook (D06709) for the background and subject of these verses, the demolition of Alexander Pope’s villa at Twickenham. Rosalind Mallord Turner’s reading published in the 1990 Tate catalogue is adopted here:
To workmen show him in weekly gain
and tear the flesh of him that his Ax[e] had made
Age M[enalcas] heard far less rejoice
Like lenten lambing
With B your Colin newly bride
Which B of Lob with pity smote
All like Alexis
‘Alexis’ refers to Pope himself, as in the verses on folios 86, 86 verso and 88 of the sketchbook (D06710, D06711, D06714). ‘Colin’ is Colin Clout, a shepherd borrowed from Edmund Spenser, while ‘B’ is the maiden ‘Bloss’ or ‘Boz’; see also folios 85 verso and 86 verso (D06709, D06711). ‘M’ can be identified as Menalcas, another shepherd, this time from Virgil’s Eclogues.1

David Blayney Brown
December 2006

1
See Wilton in Wilton and Mallord Turner 1990, p.73.

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