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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner A Classical Harbour: Study for 'Dido and Aeneas' 1805

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 17 Recto:
A Classical Harbour: Study for ‘Dido and Aeneas’ 1805
Turner Bequest XC 17
Pen and ink on off-white wove paper, prepared with a grey wash, 150 x 258 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘17’ bottom left, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘XC 17’ bottom left, descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner’s Dido and Aeneas (Tate N00494)1 was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1814. The narrative is set outside Carthage, the city which Turner must be trying to imagine in various sketches in this sketchbook. Butlin and Joll cite the coloured study on folio 21 (D05520) as probably the ‘first idea’ for the picture, but as Hill recognised, it has its own prototype in this sketch, which dovetails with another composition sketch and figure studies in the Hesperides (1) sketchbook (Tate D05773–D05778; Turner Bequest XCIII 4 verso, 5 verso–7).
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.92–3 no.129 (pl.135).

David Blayney Brown
August 2007

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘A Classical Harbour: Study for ‘Dido and Aeneas’ 1805 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, August 2007, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-a-classical-harbour-study-for-dido-and-aeneas-r1129824, accessed 29 January 2022.