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J.M.W. Turner. 1775-1851.

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Liber Studiorum

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The Straw Yard. 1808. Published by Charles Turner, 20 February, 1808. Etching and mezzotint. Finberg 7.ii/iv. Series: Liber Studiorum. Image: 7 1/4 x 10; plate: 8 1/8 x 113/8; sheet: 11 1/2 x 15 5/8. Drawn, etched and engraved by J.M.W Turner. Engraved (mezzotinted) by C. Turner (Charles Turner. 1773-1857). A fine impression printed in black/brown ink, on cream wove paper with full margins. Signed with the artists' names in the plate. Please note that the pencil inscription in the right-hand margins says that according to Rawlinson (R), this is a first state. The Rawlinson catalogue has been superseded by Finberg, according to whose description, the print is a second state. $650.

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Crypt of Kirkstall Abbey. c. 1806-07. Published by J.M.W.Turner, 11 February 1812. Etching, aquatint and mezzotint. Finberg 39.iv/iv. Series: Liber Studiorum. Image: 7 1/16 x 10 7/16; plate: 8 1/4 x 11 1/2; sheet: 10 7/16 x 15 3/4. Drawn, etched and engraved (mezzotinted) by J.M.W Turner. A fine impression printed in sepia ink, on cream wove paper with full margins. One of eleven prints from the series that totally by Turner's hand. Signed with the artist's name in the plate. $2,000.

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Turner conceived the Liber studiorum in part as a response to Claude Lorrain's volume of drawings entitled Liber veritatis, of which prints were published by John Boydell in three volumes under the same title (London: 1777-1804). The principal purpose of the Liber veritatis was to provide the artist with a private record of his finished oils and their owners, which also served the purpose of providing a reference by which genuine works could be distinguished from forgeries. Whereas Turner's Liber studiorum was always intended for publication, it shared some similarity of purpose. As the work progressed it acquired a momentum that was independent of the inspiration, and became "a truly monumental work, taking rank with the highest productions of Turner's genius, and exhibiting intimately his strength, as indeed also his weakness, during a period of his life in which a large part of his strongest and soberest ... work was done" (Rawlinson, p.iii). The 71 plates were issued in 14 parts (each containing five etchings) over some four years; in addition to these, a further 20 were printed, but not published. Lowndes pp.2722-2723; W.G. Rawlinson Turner's Liber studiorum (London, 1878).

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