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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner A Cloudy Sky 1805

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 17 Verso:
A Cloudy Sky 1805
Pencil on white wove paper, 114 x 184 mm
Inscribed in red ink by John Ruskin ‘975’ top right, inverted
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Not listed or described by Finberg, who presumably never saw it as the recto (D05487; Turner Bequest LXXXIX 29) was then on national tour in the First Loan Collection.1 With the sketchbook inverted, Turner has drawn a cloudy sky similar to that which forms the backdrop of his picture The Victory Returning from Trafalgar, possibly shown at Turner’s Gallery in 1806 (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut);2 see Introduction to the sketchbook for a discussion of the picture. The recto has a port view of Victory related to the picture, there is another on folio 18 (D05489; Turner Bequest LXXXIX 30) and a starboard view appears on folio 16 verso (D05486; Turner Bequest LXXXIX 28a). In fact the sky study, unique to the book, is the most likely confirmation of the relationship of these drawings to each other and to the picture.

David Blayney Brown
March 2006

For the First Loan Collection see Ian Warrell, ‘R.N. Wornum and the First Three Loan Collections: A History of the Early Display of the Turner Bequest Outside London’, Turner Studies, vol.11, no.1, Summer 1991, p.39.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.46–7 no.59 (pl.69).

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘A Cloudy Sky 1805 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2006, 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-cloudy-sky-r1139266, accessed 21 June 2024.