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 and graphite on paper
Support: 185 × 108 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CVI 2 a

Catalogue entry

Rosalind Mallord Turner’s reading for the 1990 Tate exhibition is largely followed here:
[in ink] Few the sweets that Autumn yields
The drooping year the
The enfeebled Bee forsakes the fields
Few [in pencil] cheerful mornings gild the skies
But fog or rain oer uplands flies
But sigh the swain [brand of man inserted] as round
The leaves turn of the year softens the ground
Views the last glories of the year depart
The seething Vale of life impress his heart
Yet when rude winter rules [?drear] oer
The hoary glebe the sea torn shore
The ... seems alone to roar
Oer gleam
Defies its utmost ray of
[in ink] Few the sweets that Autumn yields
The enfeebled Bee forsakes the fields
The d[r]ooping flowr and scarlet briar declare
The approach of Winter entomerlay care
Few cheerful mornings gilds the skies
But fog or rain oer uplands flies
The Beetle windblown feels the gale
The high reard
The drooping year the shortend day
No cheery gleams on fallows play
[in pencil] The night shade sheds a tear like [?dream]
The long drawn Vale the summer pride [?glowd]
Lines 4–11 are in pencil, the rest in ink until the last three, which are in pencil.
Other versions of these opening stanzas of a poem about autumn are on folio 3 verso of the sketchbook (D07136) and also in the Greenwich sketchbook (Tate D06725; Turner Bequest CII 3). Further passages follow on folios 34 verso–36 verso and 68 verso (D07171–D07175, D07209; Turner Bequest CVI 65a). Turner is probably recalling James Thomson’s The Seasons.

David Blayney Brown
July 2010

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