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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Fragment of Verse (Inscription by Turner) c.1816

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 8 Recto:
Fragment of Verse (Inscription by Turner) circa 1816
Turner Bequest CXL 8
Pencil on white wove paper, 155 x 95 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil (see main catalogue entry)
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner’s verse reads:
With worse than Punic faith perfidious Rome
Held forth the peaceful olive but round
The stem insidious twined the asp
See notes to folio 4 (D10416) for verse in this sketchbook related to The Decline of the Carthaginian Empire (Tate N00499)1 exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1817, and the historical background to the subject. Kathleen Nicholson cites these lines as evidence of Turner’s emphasis on Carthage as the injured party at the end of the Third Punic War.

David Blayney Brown
July 2011

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed. 1984, pp.100–1 no.135 (pl.137).

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Fragment of Verse (Inscription by Turner) c.1816 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, July 2011, 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-fragment-of-verse-inscription-by-turner-r1131407, accessed 24 June 2022.