J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Colnaghi’s Account Sketchbook c.1829–30

Turner Bequest CCXLII 1–16a
Sketchbook, bound in boards, covered in brown leather, blind-stamped with scroll, lozenge and shell motifs within scroll border; paper loops inside covers for a pencil to pass through and secure the book
14 leaves of white laid paper and 2 of cream wove paper; approximate page size 129 x 75 mm
Stamped in black ‘CCXLII’ inside front cover, on dark blue face of bellows-type endpaper pocket
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This sketchbook is actually a cheaply produced notebook. It includes a calendar in French for the year 1829 (D41058, D41059), and the book was presumably produced in France in 1828 in anticipation of the next year. Turner had travelled through France to Rome in the summer of 1828 and returned across the Alps from Italy early in 1829, as well as touring in France again later in 1829; he perhaps acquired this book on one of these occasions. The rather official-sounding title ‘Colnaghi’s Account’ was presumably invented by Finberg,1 referring to a single page of notes including the date ‘28 May 1830’, apparently regarding trade discounts with both the rival Colnaghi firms operating as art dealers at that time (folio 7 verso; D22565).
Turner made little use of the book otherwise, and the few identified sketches show London (folio 14 recto; D22572) and Surrey (folios 15 verso and 16 recto; D22574, D22575); there are also unidentified rural views, perhaps also in Surrey, on folios 1 verso, 2 recto and 15 recto (D22558, D22559, D22573). Croydon was too far out of London for the sake of casual sketching, and Turner was perhaps on the way to the South Coast; the Arundel and Shoreham and Brighton and Arundel sketchbooks (Tate; Turner Bequest CCXLV, CCXLVI) appear to have been in use there at the end of the 1820s, and the studies of sailing boats on folio 16 verso of the present book (D22576) have a sense of the open sea rather than the Thames.
Finberg 1909, II, p.742.

Matthew Imms
May 2014

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How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Colnaghi’s Account Sketchbook c.1829–30’, sketchbook, May 2014, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, September 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/colnaghis-account-sketchbook-r1148330, accessed 26 May 2024.