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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Studies of Landscapes, Townscapes and Harbours with Classical Architecture c.1824–45

Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 331, CCCXLIV 363–368, 428, 429, 431–439, CCCLXIV 370
This subsection comprises a variety of pencil and ink studies and one watercolour featuring classical architecture, reflecting Turner’s enduring interest in the history and mythology of the ancient world, often mediated by his admiration for the Rome-based French painter Claude Lorrain (1604/5–1682; see the overall Introduction to this section), particularly as shown in a series of seaport paintings such as Dido Building Carthage; or the Rise of the Carthaginian Empire, exhibited in 1815 (Turner Bequest, National Gallery, London),1 and The Decline of the Carthaginian Empire, shown in 1817 (Tate N00499).2 See also the parallel subsection of studies for Dido Directing the Equipment of the Fleet, or The Morning of the Carthaginian Empire, shown in 1828 (Tate N00506).3
An unusual sequence within this subsection is the series of studies including classical seaports made on small visiting cards (Tate D34929–D34939; Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 431–439). The range of the material is broad and often difficult to date precisely another possible influence in the subject matter here is Turner’s younger contemporary John Martin (1789–1854), with his apocalyptic landscape and architectural subjects from mythology, the Bible and ancient history; see under Tate D34798 and D36232 (Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 331, CCCLXIV 370).
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.94–6 no.131, pl.133 (colour).
Ibid., pp.100–1 no.135, pl.137 (colour).
Ibid., pp.149–50 no.241, pl.243.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

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How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Studies of Landscapes, Townscapes and Harbours with Classical Architecture c.1824–45’, subset, September 2016, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, March 2017, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/studies-of-landscapes-townscapes-and-harbours-with-classical-architecture-r1185722, accessed 20 May 2024.