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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Inscriptions by Turner: Calculations Relating to an Engraving Project; ?the Thames Valley from Richmond Hill c.1808-18

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 10 Verso:
Inscriptions by Turner: Calculations Relating to an Engraving Project; ?the Thames Valley from Richmond Hill c.1808–18
Turner Bequest CLIV a 10a
Pencil and pen and ink on white wove paper, 89 x 112 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pen and ink and pencil (see main catalogue entry)
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Most of the page, turned vertically, is taken up with the following calculations in pencil, except the first three lines, the subtotal ‘558’ and ‘2 2 0 –’ in ink. The latter figure overlaps with those on either side:
                 500 [?Drwng] –        268  
                 200 Large    –        200  
                 50  India    –         90  
this is calculated at 25 dis[?t]              
                 40        240         300  
                 25        860  
                860       1100 2 2 0 – 258  
           D     25                     27 in [...]  
               [...]                  1100  
              [?S]     200  
                        25 profit  
The words in the first three lines suggest these figures relate to one of Turner’s many engraving projects, apparently mentioning the preliminary drawings (i.e. watercolours), and large paper and India paper proof impressions. There are similar notes on folios 11 verso and 12 recto (D12140, D12141).
There is also part of a landscape sketch, inverted relative to the foliation, showing the distant horizon, which may have been made after the calculations which it overlaps; the main part of the view, possibly from Richmond Hill, is on folio 11 recto opposite (D12139). A scrawled inscription above the horizon appears to read: ‘Club July [?18] 1818 | 18’. These words seem to run on from ‘[?Richmond]’ and ‘[?Academy]’ on the opposite page.
Finberg quotes the Academician Joseph Farington’s account of an informal, convivial excursion along the Thames from Westminster to Richmond by members of the Royal Academy Club including himself and Turner on 7 July 1819.1 Turner’s inscription here possibly relates to the equivalent outing in 1818, although Farington recorded that occasion, which he did not attend but followed closely, as taking place on Friday 17 July.2 Turner’s note of the day of the month is unclear, and perhaps he intended the seventeenth. The inscription probably at least indicates the year of the drawing, if not the specific circumstances. In any case he had a house in Twickenham, across the Thames from Richmond, at this time (see the present author’s ‘Sandycombe Lodge c.1808–12’ section elsewhere in this catalogue).
There are similar panoramic views on folios 11 verso–12 recto, 12 verso–13 recto and 13 verso–14 recto (D12140–D12145).

Matthew Imms
September 2013

See Alexander J. Finberg, The Life of J.M.W. Turner, R.A. Second Edition, Revised, with a Supplement, by Hilda F. Finberg, revised ed., Oxford 1961, pp.259–60; see also Kathryn Cave ed., The Diary of Joseph Farington, vol.XV, New Haven and London 1984, pp.5385–6.
See Cave 1984, pp.5240 (11 July) and 5243 (21 July).

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Inscriptions by Turner: Calculations Relating to an Engraving Project; ?the Thames Valley from Richmond Hill c.1808–18 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, September 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, September 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-inscriptions-by-turner-calculations-relating-to-an-engraving-r1147554, accessed 06 December 2021.