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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Inscriptions and Sketches by Turner 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Inside Front Cover:
Inscriptions and Sketches by Turner 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXIII
Pencil on white wove paper, 114 x 185 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil (see main catalogue text)
Numbered ‘395’ as part of the Turner Schedule in 1854 and endorsed by the Executors of the Turner Bequest, inscribed in black ink ‘No.395 Contains 87 | leaves Pencil Sketches | H.S. Trimmer | C. Turner’ and initialled in pencil by John Prescott Knight, ‘JPK’ and Charles Lock Eastlake ‘C.L.E.’ bottom left, ascending left-hand edge
Inscribed by John Ruskin in pencil ‘I make it 89? | JR.’ top right, ascending right-hand edge
Inscribed by an unknown hand in pencil ‘CLXXIII’ bottom left
Stamped in black ‘CLXXIII’ top left
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner has used the inside front cover of the sketchbook to make a series of notes in pencil and also some rough sketches. The inscriptions in the top left-hand corner concern his financial arrangements and the currency he took with him for his travels. They read as follows: ‘Changed at Calais, a L or and a 5 note | 20 [?Left] ...1 | 10 to Hannah | 10 to Daddy | 40 left in 30 checks’ and ‘5 Changed in Lon | 11 the [?Carriage] | 5 at Calais | 2 [?Silver] to Dover | 23 to Lyon’.1 Based upon this information it seems as though Turner left £10 each in London for his housekeeper, Hannah Danby, and his father but took with him around £40.2 He then spent £23 during the journey between London and Calais, and furthermore changed a Louis d’Or (a French gold coin worth about 20 francs)3 and a £5 note at Calais.4 Finberg believed that the artist would probably have arranged credits for further supplies with the banks of Torlonia or Hammersley at Rome.5
Also on the sheet (with the sketchbook held vertically) are a couple of thumbnail sketches recording coats of arms. Turner has annotated the studies with colour notes. The left, topped by a crown, is marked ‘WR’ and ‘RW cross’, and the right which seems to be topped by a bird is marked ‘W cross’. The indication of a ‘red’ and ‘white’ cross with a crown above it suggests that the left shield may represent the coat of arms of the ruling house of Savoy. At the bottom of the page is a very schematic drawing which is too rough to be identified, although it appears to depict a building with mountains beyond.
Additionally the page has been endorsed by the executors of the Turner Bequest and numbered ‘395’ as part of the Turner Schedule in 1854. They noted the sketchbook contained 87 leaves, although a further inscription by John Ruskin indicates that he counted ‘89’. For further discussion concerning the numbering and concordance of the book see the Introduction.

Nicola Moorby
February 2013

The transcription here is very close to that in Finberg 1909, I, p.503, and in Guillaud, Alfrey, Wilton et al. 1981, p.106.
Hamilton 1997, p.196.
Heinrich August O. Reichard, A Descriptive Road Book of France, London 1829, p.5.
Ibid., and Finberg 1930, p.14.
Finberg 1930, p.14.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Inscriptions and Sketches by Turner 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, February 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, August 2013, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-inscriptions-and-sketches-by-turner-r1142849, accessed 26 May 2024.