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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Verse: 'Discarded London...' (Inscription by Turner) c.1812-13

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 18 Recto:
Verse: ‘Discarded London...’ (Inscription by Turner) c.1812–13
Turner Bequest CXXIX 18
Ink on white wove paper, 110 x 178 mm
Inscribed by Turner in ink (see main catalogue entry)
Watermarked ‘[WHA]TMAN | [180]5’
Trace of inscription by ?John Ruskin in red ink ‘18 [?]’ bottom right
Stamped in brown ‘CXXIX 18’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Written from left to right down the page, and continued from folio 17 recto (D09078), preceding, Turner’s inscription reads:
Or scattered as the leaves of Autumn heaped around
Tell too loudly all impending fate
That some days these Vegetating powers
Called by the quickening sun ^seems to tender shoots
Through the hard ^brown rind which brave[s] the Winter frosts
And pendant isciles [i.e. icicles] gleam the first of green
Gay livery of the groves that coiling [?curling] runs
Round vegetation in her varing course
From the banefull nights shade dark entwined
In the low quickset to the topmost bough
That yelling in the breeze of alpine heights
Bears the grey Lichen midst the upmost storm
Where ed[dy]ing snows and cracking Glaciers fall
Wide willowing ^dealing round distruction
To the calm sunny vale when summer binds
Her auburn ringlets by the yellow gourd
That lost by brightness yields the conquest power’ 1
See notes to D09078 for Turner’s themes and their likely debt to James Thomson’s Seasons.
The transcription here is indebted to, but differs in a number of respects from that offered by Rosalind Mallord Turner in Wilton and Mallord Turner 1990.

David Hill
October 2008

How to cite

David Hill, ‘Verse: ‘Discarded London...’ (Inscription by Turner) c.1812–13 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, October 2008, 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-verse-discarded-london-inscription-by-turner-r1146801, accessed 18 July 2024.