TURNER AND POETRY, HIS OWN AND
SOME THAT ? OF OTHERS
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It seems to us very questionable to omit from Turner’ s pictures the poetry, his own and that of others, with which he accompanied them, for their better understanding, as the Tate has done on its website
Hence the following page where these have been restored
(Replace : Is same as talk for Wat seminar and introductory chapter to doctorat )
In 1798 the RA authorized for the first time verse in its catalogue
On this occasion, Turner exhibited ten pictures, adding verse-quotations to five of them, 1 from Milton, 4 from Thomson’s Seasons (Play Handel’s rendering here ?
In 1812 he attached for the first time an exemple of his own poetic handiwork, inscribed as coming from a long poem, The Fallacies of Hope,
The Tate website has systematically omitted all (or the great majority) of the these poetic addenda from their website of what they call the Turner Collection
We believe that to include them is to act in accordance with Turner’s wishes and that they add considerably to our understanding to the pictures to which they are appended
Let us begin with the first two Carthage pictures, of 1815 and 1817.
Dido building Carthage, exh. 1815, BJ 131, National Gallery, London. This is the title to be found on the National gallery website
We will restore Turner’s full title : Dido building Carthage, or the Rise of the Carthaginian Empire, as to found in the RA catalogue of 1815
Why this abbreviation, or cutting things in half ? to avoid the weighty question?
BJ THE DECLINE OF THE CARTHAGINIAN EMPIRE EMPIRE, Rome being determined on the overthrow of her hated rival demanded from her such terms as might either force her into war or ruin her by compliance : the enervated Carthagians, in their anxiety for peace, consented to give up even their arms and their children, exh. 1817
(Did they not fight Rome to the bitter end ? )
. . . At Hope’s delusive smile, The chieftain’s safety and the mother’s pride, Were to the insidious conqu’or’s grasp resign’d; While o’er the western wave th’ensanguin’d sun In gathering haze a stormy signal spread, And set portentous.
Though this poem is not said by Turner to be from the Fallacies of Hope ms, the conception of these pictures is in the same spirit, it seem to us.
The Tate website, which omitted the greater part of Turner’s title, and Turner’s poetry from the RA catalogue, nevertheless is correct here for once
and seems to recognizes and acknowledges that there is a pointed? moral to this picture
This is we find the on the Tate website : “Turner saw the rise and fall of once-great empires as a historical inevitability, confirmed by the fall of Napoleon, but threatening to overtake the victorious British.”
This is all the more to the merit of the Tate that they may explicit what is only implicit in Turner
As Butlin and Joel mention, John Gage had allready stressed this fact in an article in 1974 had pointed out that such comparisons of the rise and fall of empires and their application to the contemporary situation were a commonplace in the 18th and 19th as in Goldsmith’s ….and Gibbon’s …. (where in each ? )
Include Dolbadern castle or later on ?
The next picture we will comment is :
This painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1812 and accompanied in the catalogue of the exhibit by the following verses by Turner, described for the first time as coming from his ‘MS. P(oem?) Fallacies of Hope’.
“Craft, treachery and fraud – Salassian force, Hung on the fainting rear ! Then Plunder seized The victor and the captive,- Sagentum’s spoil Alike became their prey; still the chief advanced Look’d on the sun with hope; – low, broad, and wan; While the fierce archer of the downward year Stains Italy’s blanched barrier with storms In vain each pass, ensanguin’d deep with dead, Or rocky fragments, wide destruction rolled, Still on Campania’s fertile plains — he thought, But the loud breeze sob’d, “Capua’s joys beware ! ”
To be completed
The Tate Britain website has left out these verses
According to the Tate, the picture is about
According to Turners’ verse this is not the fundament meaning od the picture in general or philosophical term
Lindsay aries that, this being the first use o, it was die to sme Indeed historically this avnet would lead to the pauperization to the peasant class, od which Engela would describe an episode in the …a work which wold have mementos conseueces on Mar views
14/3 195 BJ Palestrina – Composition Exh 1830 with the following verses :
14/3 BJ 295 ? Palestrina – Composition 1828, exhibited 1830
“Or from yon mural rock, hugh crowned Preneste Where, misdeeming of his strength, the Carthaginian, stood, And marked with eagle eye, Rome as his victim.”
MS Fallacies of Hope
301 Italian Landscape, probably Civita di Bagnoregio, 1828 ?
Ravishing, on the way to the late informel Liber style of painting
Ravishing. Another example of the same
374 Ancient Italy, Ovid banished
The titles of the next two works are taken from the first part of Thomson’s poem Liberty
As Macawley writes in his study of Thomson,
375 Modern Italy- the Pifferari
Exhibited with the following lines
“_________The clear stream Aye, -the yellow Tiber glimmers in her beam, Even while the sun is setting”
Butlin and Joel comment : “In his verses Turner is presumably referring to this incident as a stage in the decline of Rome”
Here is the literal transcript of the commentary on this picture in the introductory film to the Turner Collection on the Tate website by B Blaney Browne 1-3.45
“(1.51) This painting is called Ancient Rome, Agrippina landing with the ashes of Germanicus which is perhaps rather a daunting title today but the story of Agrippina was very well known to Turners’s generation and it is all about the dedication of a widow whose husband died at Antioch possibly poisoned possibly murdered but she was absolutely devoted to him and she brought his ashes back to Italy not in fact to Rome as Turner shows in the picture but to Brindisi he ‘d been reading the wrong book he’d been reading a? roman history which told the story slightly wrong (2.35) got the place of her arrival slightly wrong but that does really not matter he’s used the picture to reconstruct the architecture of ancient Rome.
2.44 Quite often the stories Turner is telling are quite hard to divine (ricern) because ? the main interest to him is the background or the landscape or in this case the architecture (3.01)
3.07 By the time Turner painted this picture one of his main interest was ? light sunlight mist and it is wonderful to see how this great vision of the ancient city seems to be both emerging and dissolving in the mist (3.26) end of commentary Meet 500 years of British art supported by BP”
Very questionable on many points or la lot of nonsense
That Turner was interest in does not mean is was his main interest
We believe Turner was in great part a, historical painter, his main terest was in the historical process, as Linsay ha s aptly put it
Some silly comments in Browne introductory film to Turner collection website analyses this picture Browne introductory film to Turner collection website
Draws spectator into film …(good )
But the rest of this commentary is inept
Utterly sily as introdiction to Turner
Of course we feel meaning is important
Sun has you, (hypocrite lecteur) in his aim
I suggest he stand for a good moment in front if the Angel standing i the sub , si that the angel can unleaech his fury against the bit of balderdash
15/4 BJ 337 Caligula’s Palace and Bridge exhibited 1831
What now remains of all the mighty bridge Which made the Lacrine lake another pool Caligula, but mighty fragments left
342 Child Harold’s Pilgrimage – Italy
It might be useful to have in mind also The first two lines of this stanza which are :
‘Commonwealth of Kings….
Add music of ….Berlioz ? J?
343 The Prince of Orange, William III, Embarked from Holland, and Landed at Torbay, November 4th, 1688, after a Stormy Passage
This picture was exhibited in 1832 with a reference to ‘-” History of England” ‘ and the text ‘The yacht in which his majesty sailed was after many changes and services, finally wrecked on the Hambourg sands, while employed in the Hull trade’
Lindsay suggest that here is an allegorical intent : ‘Turner reminds of the twist that distorts men’s aims and hopes ; the triumphant ship of liberty is wrecked in the end as the mere instrument of trade’.
The Tate webste completely ignores these notes of Turner, qualifying them as The only thing the Tate website says about this point is that
1832 as a year fruofil in political events
Lindsay suggests that this painting was done in reaction (in relation) to contemporary events :
The reference is a vague history of England
Lindsay adds : there is perhaps an allegorical intent in the above note
added above: That is Tuner reminds
We will come back to this point later on
This is the Tate Display caption, with its usual nitpicking, which misses the main point :
‘This representation of an historical event contains a number of errors. William’s fleet had indeed been beaten back to base in October 1688 but on 1 November sailed in perfect weather, landing on 5 November. Like various earlier Dutch-inspired compositions, this, too, carries a political message connected with Anglo-Dutch relations. Here, Turner criticises again British non-intervention in the Belgian revolt, which was to lead to the termination in 1839 of the United Netherlands. In the Academy catalogue Turner added a curious note about the Prince having sailed his yacht, not a frigate – a confusion with his arrival in a yacht for his wedding to Princess Mary on 4th (!) November 1677.’
BJ 402 THE SUN OF VENICE GOING TO SEA 1843,
‘Fair shines the morn, and soft the zephyrs blow Venezia’s fisher spreads his painted sail so gay, Nor heeds the demon that in grim repose Expects his evening prey.’ Fallacies of Hope M.S.
Il ya unje not interssante de Ruskin much to the admiration of the collectors of the subilline leaves of the FH
Dido and Aeneas series
Omit these pictures late Aeneas pictures or replace them elsewhere ?
II c The Aeneas and Dido pictures.
Backing up this hypothsis is a narrative sequence of four pictures about Dido and Aeneas, taken from Vergil’s Aeneid, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1850, the year before Turner’s death, and which may constitute Turner’s definitive “testamentary” work.
Turner had allready treated themes from the Aeneid 6 times.
The 1850 series confirm the hypotheses concerning the question of violence or excess of power and the role of nature. The first of these pictures is :
“Aeneas relating his tale to Dido”, cat. 430, destroyed, formerly TB, Online 297 ? , see photograph,
accompanied with the verses
‘Fallacious Hope beneath the moon’s pale crescent shone,
Dido listened to Troy being lost and won.’
-MS., Fallacies of Hope.
the second is :
“The visit to the Tomb”, cat. 431, pl. 417, Online 298 ?
accompanied with the line :
‘The sun went down in wrath at such deceit.’
-MS., Fallacies of Hope.
the third is
“Mercury sent to Admonish Aeneas”, cat 429, pl. 416, online 299 ? accompanied with the line :
“Beneath the morning mist,
Mercury waited to tell him of his neglected fleet.”
-MS., Fallacies of Hope,
the fourth is
“The Departure of the Fleet”, cat. 432, pl. 418, online 300 ?
accompanied with the lines :
“The orient moon shone on the departing fleet,
Nemesis invoked, the priest held the poisoned cup.”
-Ms., Fallacies of Hope.
Some concluding remarks ?
Why must understand Empire of Decline of C Empire in an extensice sense
LIST of WORKS
1/8 Snowstorm, 1812, with first quotation from Fallacies
2/9 Battle of Fort Rock
12 Decline of CE 1817
3/14 Palestrina – Composition
4/15 Caligula’s Palace and Bridge, 1830
5/16 Vision Medea
20 Ancient Rome
8/22 Peace – Burial at Sea
10/24 Opening of Wallhalla
11/25 Sun of Venice going to sea
12/26 Shade and Darkness
13/27 Light and
14-17/28-31 Last 4 Dido pictures ? p. 52 ( ‘Finally we have the group dealing with
Discuss the issue with Terry
Empire in broad sens of the term
If correct there ought to be some action
This shows a pet tern on behavior
Not so foolish
Empire must be understood in broad sense : goes westward to US, then in broad sense of humanity at large, see sign on Bod St Germain
All art no morality in Turner
convent for,them can ignore Turner conditions
CONCLUSION Il we take all the quote from the fallacies of Hope, we found they all amount to a sort of sermon to the Nation, no faltering, no excess, no abuse of power Why not the nation ? can do with a sermon occasionally, and even perhaps regularly
Quote Lindsay 66, p. 48 , poet and prophet…
This was commonly applied to modern times replace
This seems to us all the more so as these two paintings made up Turner’s bequest of ……….Finish