Martello Towers near Bexhill, Sussex (Liber Studiorum, part VII, plate 34)
Designed and etched by Joseph Mallord William Turner (British, London 1775–1851 London)
William Say (British, Lakenham, near Norwich 1768–1834 London)
Joseph Mallord William Turner (British, London 1775–1851 London)
Etching and mezzotint; first state of four (Finberg)
plate: 7 x 10 1/8 in. (17.8 x 25.7 cm)
sheet: 8 1/4 x 11 7/16 in. (21 x 29.1 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1928
Not on view
Turner distilled his ideas about landscape In "Liber Studiorum" (Latin for Book of Studies), a series of seventy prints plus a frontispiece published between 1807 and 1819. To establish the compositions, he made brown watercolor drawings, then etched outlines onto copper plates. Professional engravers usually developed the tone under Turner's direction, and Say here added mezzotint to describe a stretch of England's south coast, with a road below cliffs receding toward forts built to defend against a feared Napoleonic invasion. A distant storm hints at that threat as, in the foreground, a man and woman lead a loaded donkey, and two hussars follow on horseback. The letter "M" in the upper margin indicates Turner's category of Marine landscape.
Signature: in plate: "Drawn & Etched by T. M. W. Turner Esq-r R.A. / Engraved by W. Say Engraver to H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester"
Inscription: in plate, above image: "M"; below: "Published June 1811 by T.M.W. Turner, Queen Ann Street West"
Vendor: P. & D. Colnaghi & Co.
Finberg 34 i/iv; Rawlinson 34 i/iii
William George Rawlinson Turner's Liber Studiorum: A Description and A Catalogue. Macmillan & Co., 2nd ed. London, 1906, cat. no. 34 i/iii, p. 72.
Alexander Joseph Finberg The History of Turner's Liber Studiorum, with a new catalogue raisonné. Ernest Benn Limited, London, 1924, cat. no. 34 i/iv, pp. 134-6.
Eric Shanes Turner's Human Landscape. 1990, p. 113.
Gillian Forrester Turner's 'Drawing Book': The Liber Studiorum, exh. cat., London, Tate Gallery, 20 February–2 June. London, 1996, illustrates: related watercolor, ca. 1808 (Tate Britain), first published state, 1811, x-radiograph of oil, ca. 1830 showing related composition, and engraving from "Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England," 1817, cat. no. 34, pp. 93-4.