Joseph Mallord William Turner

Verses (Inscriptions by Turner)


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Ink on paper
Support: 115 × 76 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CII 23 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:
Beside the masters desk he trembling stands
But not with fear of smarting birchen brands
But views his writing fearful he may lose
The weekly prize whence all his joy accrus
The stimulus of all pride to some is given
But here share Mammon and appearing even
Yet small beginnings
He Builds his mansion but fretfull p[ride]
To which on and his [t]oil provide
he bore the com[mand?] of[?futurity] pride
Seizes the collar right contrasted grows
and multiply the his continuing woes
Like the same pain ... plain
Slugish behold its silver to the main
mid reeds and swamp its damp exhales
with dazzling vapour nor cheer the gli[ttering?] sails
Let other strands that [?futurity] e[e]n pours
Hea[l]th and commercial vigor on their shores
Here, Turner expands the association of Mammon and a schoolmaster found in a shorter draft on folio 12 verso (D06744).

David Blayney Brown
March 2007

Read full Catalogue entry

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