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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner ?Composition Study: A Fierce Storm (or Battle) over a Wide Plain, Watched by Figures on a Slope in the Foreground 1798

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 60 Verso:
?Composition Study: A Fierce Storm (or Battle) over a Wide Plain, Watched by Figures on a Slope in the Foreground 1798
D01562
Turner Bequest XL 58a
Pencil on white wove paper, 135 x 95 mm
Inscribed in red ink ‘35’ top left, upside down
Stamped in black ‘XL – 58 a’ bottom left
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The subject is continued on folio 61 recto opposite (D01563; Turner Bequest XL 59). As Jerrold Ziff has proposed,1 followed tentatively by Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, this is perhaps a study for the oil painting The Army of the Medes destroyed in the Desart by a Whirlwind, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1801.2 A further meditation on the same subject is on folios 62 verso–63 recto (D01566–D01567; Turner Bequest XL 60a–61). It is not clear whether the studies of clambering men on other pages of the book (folios 6 verso–7 recto, 13 recto; D01472–D01473, D01484) are related to this apocalyptic idea, which seems to foreshadow in several respects the themes of Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army crossing the Alps, exhibited at the Academy in 1812 (Tate N00490).3

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

1
Ziff 1964, p.330.
2
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.13–15 no.15, untraced.
3
Ibid., pp.88–90 no.126, pl.131 (colour).

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘?Composition Study: A Fierce Storm (or Battle) over a Wide Plain, Watched by Figures on a Slope in the Foreground 1798 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, May 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, April 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-composition-study-a-fierce-storm-or-battle-over-a-wide-plain-r1173801, accessed 07 December 2021.