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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Verses (Inscription by Turner) c.1808

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 10 Recto:
Verses (Inscription by Turner) circa 1808
Turner Bequest CII 10
Inscribed by Turner in pencil and ink (see main catalogue entry) on white wove paper, 115 x 76 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘10’ bottom left, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘CII 10’ bottom left, descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
For the longer draft poems to which Turner’s verses belong, see Introduction to the sketchbook and note to folio 1 verso (D06722). Finberg did not transcribe the verses on this leaf and the reading given here was first made by Rosalind Mallord Turner for the 1990 Tate exhibition:
But the powerful charm
That keep discor[d]ant nature prone to harm
To judge twixt good and ill husht
The gathering turmoile but the first
Who dared
Husht the impending ruin alarm
Roaring main for the[e] she long will weep
But thy unfading honor neer can sleep
In History[’s] page thy brave companions toil
In [thy inserted] dear Country honor'd tears shall smile
When Hope for thy return [h]as bowd to care
And not a ray remains to check de[s]pair
No Vestige left of thy fated bark prow
No scatter’d Plank of Iron branded Oar
Or the least tiding reach thy native shore
There are further, illegible lines in pencil. Those in ink seems to continue Turner’s reflections on the death of the explorer Hugh Willoughby while trying to find a North-East Passage; see also folios 6 verso, 8 verso and 9 verso (D06732, D06736, D06738).

David Blayney Brown
March 2007

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Verses (Inscription by Turner) c.1808 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2007, 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-verses-inscription-by-turner-r1130832, accessed 24 June 2024.