Joseph Mallord William Turner

Verses (Inscription by Turner)

c.1808

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Ink on paper
Dimensions
Support: 115 × 76 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D06744
Turner Bequest CII 12 a

Catalogue entry

For the longer draft poems to which Turner’s verses belong, see Introduction to the sketchbook. Finberg did not transcribe the verses on this leaf and the reading given here was first made by Rosalind Mallord Turner for the 1990 Tate exhibition:
Not so the studies of [?Mammon’s ear] at school
he in addition add or multiply by rules
Lay on the masters desk the cards
Mammon and a schoolmaster also appear in lines on folio 23 verso of this sketchbook (D06744). As the poems drafted in it refer to Alexander Pope it is arguable that this passage harks back to the scene of schoolboys playing cards in Pope’s Rape of the Lock (1712; enlarged ed.1714). Turner seems to treat card-playing at school as a foretaste of future wealth whereas William Wordsworth, in the Prelude (1805), adapted Pope’s card players to introduce, by contrast, the power of wild nature.

David Blayney Brown
March 2006

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