Joseph Mallord William Turner

Verses (Inscription by Turner)


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 155 × 95 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXL 3

Catalogue entry

These verses were not transcribed by Finberg, who must have found them illegible. Only a few phrases can be made out and the reading given here is tentative and incomplete:
Another victim of thy golden dream
Delusive Hope. Salmonius scratched
on the panel which Ambition made
brandished the Thunderers rod
He rais the high bulwark and withstood it all
The proud arch high the vaulty shield
In striving convoy reaching up to the gods
He roard he ...
And in daring raisd his mighty arm
And did discharge upon the ... by turn
The hollow promise of his pride
and all his vanity, fell bruisd by his high rock..
the clouds and ... the false
... crushed
and by the ruins his highest hope had died
This passage begins as an alternative version of lines on the verso (D10415) about Salmoneus who, according to Greek mythology, was so arrogant that he attempted to rival the god Zeus, who destroyed him with a thunderbolt. This legendary example of ‘Delusive Hope’ aligns with Turner’s fragments of verse from his supposedly longer epic The Fallacies of Hope, which he wrote to accompany pictures from 1812.
For the Executors’ endorsements see also Introduction to the sketchbook.

David Blayney Brown
July 2011

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