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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Dido and Aeneas Hunting: Storm Approaching 1805

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 2 Recto:
Dido and Aeneas Hunting: Storm Approaching 1805
Turner Bequest XCVIII 2
Pen and ink and brownish-grey wash over pencil on white laid paper, 117 x 182 mm
Inscribed by Turner in ink ‘Dido & Aeneas’ lower right of centre
Inscribed John Ruskin in red ink ‘2’ bottom left, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘XCVIII 2’ bottom left, descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
For the two subjects in this sketchbook illustrating Virgil’s Aeneid, see Introduction to the sketchbook and folios 1 (D06180) and 1 verso (D06181). 1 verso has slight indications of tree tops extending from the present composition.
As Nicholson observes, this represents the continuation later in the day of the hunting party laid on by Dido outside her city of Carthage for her guest Aeneas. Turner painted its beginnings at dawn in Dido and Aeneas exhibited in 1814 (Tate N00494).1 In the afternoon, a storm blew up, driving Dido and Aeneas into a cave where they consummated their passion (Aeneid, Book 4, 231–46). The waving trees and billowing drapery in the drawing suggest the onset of the storm, but Turner has not gone so far as to detail the torrents and flashes of lightning and fire described by Virgil at its climax.
See catalogue note to folio 3 (D06183) for the technical and thematic relationship between this subject and that of Ulysses and Nausicaa from Homer’s Odyssey.

David Blayney Brown
July 2008

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).

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Dido and Aeneas Hunting: Storm Approaching 1805 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, July 2008, 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-dido-and-aeneas-hunting-storm-approaching-r1130364, accessed 25 January 2022.