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 12 Verso:
Verses (Inscription by Turner) circa 1808
Turner Bequest CII 12a
Inscribed by Turner in ink (see main catalogue entry) on white wove paper, 115 x 76 mm
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. 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:
Not so the studies of [?Mammon’s ear] at school
he in addition add or multiply by rules
Lay on the masters desk the cards
Mammon and a schoolmaster also appear in lines on folio 23 verso of this sketchbook (D06744). As the poems drafted in it refer to Alexander Pope it is arguable that this passage harks back to the scene of schoolboys playing cards in Pope’s Rape of the Lock (1712; enlarged ed.1714). Turner seems to treat card-playing at school as a foretaste of future wealth whereas William Wordsworth, in the Prelude (1805), adapted Pope’s card players to introduce, by contrast, the power of wild nature.

David Blayney Brown
March 2006

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Verses (Inscription by Turner) c.1808 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2006, 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-r1130837, accessed 24 June 2024.