Joseph Mallord William Turner

Verses (Inscriptions by Turner)


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 180 × 107 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CI 87 a

Catalogue entry

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:
On Twickenham Banks as living sunbeams play
a Shepherd Boy his early lay
The flock
A Shepherd Boy with [labourers inserted] mien leads
his flock by Thames flowry meads
And the trembling throng the foaming rim leap
The pride of Thames
Fraught with the reeds which harbour sheep
his aged Grandsire sought
Alas my son nay too long thou soul of toil
have on my fears –
Old have sent them dolfull [around inserted] [to my breast deleted]
Each falling timber from the wall resounds
The mournfull rus[t] ling of the Aspen tall
At yestereve some ruin would befall
To or men ah little my
Ah little did I think yon hous’s fame
Would lose its once respected name

David Blayney Brown
October 2007

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