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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Verses (Inscription by Turner) c.1816-19

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 3 Recto:
Verses (Inscription by Turner) circa 1816–19
Turner Bequest CXL 3
Pencil on white wove paper, 155 x 95 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil (see main catalogue entry)
Inscribed by the Executors of the Turner Bequest ink ‘No.399. Contains 82 Leaves | Pencil sketches on both | sides’ and signed by Charles Turner in ink ‘C. Turner’ and by Charles Lock Eastlake and John Prescott Knight in pencil ‘C.L.E.’ and ‘JPK’
Inscribed by John Ruskin in blue ink ‘3’ top right
Stamped in black ‘CXL 3’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
These verses were not transcribed by Finberg, who must have found them illegible. Only a few phrases can be made out and the reading given here is tentative and incomplete:
Another victim of thy golden dream
Delusive Hope. Salmonius scratched
on the panel which Ambition made
brandished the Thunderers rod
He rais the high bulwark and withstood it all
The proud arch high the vaulty shield
In striving convoy reaching up to the gods
He roard he ...
And in daring raisd his mighty arm
And did discharge upon the ... by turn
The hollow promise of his pride
and all his vanity, fell bruisd by his high rock..
the clouds and ... the false
... crushed
and by the ruins his highest hope had died
This passage begins as an alternative version of lines on the verso (D10415) about Salmoneus who, according to Greek mythology, was so arrogant that he attempted to rival the god Zeus, who destroyed him with a thunderbolt. This legendary example of ‘Delusive Hope’ aligns with Turner’s fragments of verse from his supposedly longer epic The Fallacies of Hope, which he wrote to accompany pictures from 1812.
For the Executors’ endorsements see also Introduction to the sketchbook.

David Blayney Brown
July 2011

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Verses (Inscription by Turner) c.1816–19 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, July 2011, 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-r1131397, accessed 16 May 2022.