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The Frontispiece to Liber Studiorum

Artist:
Designed, etched and engraved by Joseph Mallord William Turner (British, London 1775–1851 London)
Engraver:
J. C. Easling (British, active 1807–33)
Publisher:
Joseph Mallord William Turner (British, London 1775–1851 London)
Date:
May 1812
Medium:
Etching and mezzotint; first state of five (Finberg)
Dimensions:
plate: 7 7/16 x 10 1/2 in. (18.9 x 26.7 cm) sheet: 8 3/8 x 11 11/16 in. (21.3 x 29.7 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1928
Accession Number:
28.97.1
Not on view
Turner created this print to introduce his "Liber Studiorum" (Latin for Book of Studies), a series of seventy prints published between 1807 and 1819 that span the range of landscape's thematic potential. The artist etched and engraved the central image of Zeus transformed into a white bull as he abducts Princess Europa from Tyre, using the scene to symbolize Historical and Mountainous landscape. Easling added mezzotint to the border whose imagery refers to Turner's other categories: vegetation and a basket of eggs refer to Pastoral landscape; fish, oars and a sail suggest Marines, and a low-relief arcade stands for Architectural landscape. Turner's EP category (an abbreviation he never defined in print, but likely intended to indicate Elevated Pastoral) is evoked by classical ruins and a white peacock.
Signature: in plate: "Drawn, Etched & the Centre Engraved by I. M. W: Turner Esq-r R.A.P.P. / Engraved by I. C. Easling"

Inscription: in plate: "is most respectfully presented to the Subscribers by I,, W,, Turner. / Published May 23. 1812 by I. M. W. Turner, Queen Ann Street West"
Vendor: P. & D. Colnaghi & Co.
Finberg 1 i/v; Rawlinson 1 i/iv
William George Rawlinson Turner's Liber Studiorum: A Description and A Catalogue. Macmillan & Co., 2nd ed. London, 1906, cat. no. 1 i/iv, pp. 9-11.

Alexander Joseph Finberg The History of Turner's Liber Studiorum, with a new catalogue raisonné. Ernest Benn Limited, London, 1924, cat. no. 1 i/v, pp. 2-4.

Joseph R. Goldyne J.M.W. Turner: Works on Paper from American Collections exh. cat., University Art Museum, Berkeley. 1975, cat. no. 49-54, pp. 163-4, 167-71.

Luke Herrmann Turner prints: The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner. New York University Press, New York, 1990, pp. 58-60.

Gillian Forrester Turner's 'Drawing Book': The Liber Studiorum, exh. cat., London, Tate Gallery, 20 February–2 June. London, 1996, illustrates: related pen and ink drawing, 1806-10 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), proof of first state, ca. 1810-11, proof of third state, ca. 1810-11, and first published state, 1812, cat. no. 1, pp. 45-7.



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