Turner Bequest CCLXXX 45
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘(45’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCLXXX 45’ bottom right
Sarmatia fell, unwept, without a crime;
Found not a generous friend, a pitying foe,
Strength in her arms, now mercy in her woe!
Dropp’d from her nerveless grasp the shatter’d spear,
Closed her bright eye, and curbed her high career; –
HOPE, for a season, bade the world farewell,
And Freedom shriek’d – as KOSCKIUSKO fell!
The sun went down, nor ceased the carnage there,
Tumultuous murder shook the midnight air –
On Prague’s proud arch the fires of ruin glow,
His blood-dyed waters murmuring far below
(Poetical Works of Thomas Campbell, pp.14–15)
This sketch is closely related to the former. Both works show similar subjects and share the same blue and blazing orange sky. John Gage has formerly associated them with Turner’s sketches of the burning of the Houses of Parliament in 1834 (see Tate; Turner Bequest) and two additional studies of fiery sunset skies (see Tate D27596; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 79 and Tate D27600; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 83).4 However, various differences in palette, composition, and date (D27596 bears an 1841 watermark), suggest that they are not in fact related.
Peter Bower has noted that this study is made on off-white low-grade machine-made cartridge paper. The maker is unknown and there is no watermark. This paper would have been relatively cheap to buy and could have been purchased from a colourman, cut off from a roll to the desired size. Turner has used the ‘felt’ side of the paper which has slightly more texture than the ‘wire’ side, allowing better adhesion of pigment and graphite to the surface of the sheet. Many of Turner’s vignette studies were made on a similar grade of machine-made paper, and the artist employed the ‘felt’ side on all of them.1
Stamped in black ‘CCLXXX 45’ lower left
How to cite
Meredith Gamer, ‘Vignette Study for ‘Kosciusko’, for Campbell’s ‘Poetical Works’ c.1835–6 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, August 2006, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www