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Monday, 30 November 2020

JMW Turner’s etching with mezzotint, “Jason”, 1807

(Etcher) Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851)

(Engraver) Charles Turner (pseudonym: Renrut) (1774–1857)

“Jason”, 1807, from the series, “Liber Studiorum”, published in Part I by JMW Turner in London.

Mezzotint and etching printed in a brown ink on laid paper (presumably Auvergne paper made by T Dupuy [see Finberg p. 1xxvii]) with a narrow margin around the plate mark and backed with a support sheet.

Size: (sheet) 21.3 x 29.5 cm; (plate); 21 x 29.2 cm; (image borderline) 18.4 x 25.9 cm.

Lettered on plate above the image borderline: (centre) "H".

Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “Drawn & Etched by J.M.W. Turner R. A.”; (centre) “JASON./ Published as the Act directs by J.M.W. Turner Harley Street.”; (right) “Engraved by C. Turner”.

State i/ii (of v) with “Marginal line at right and other lines imperfectly bitten” before the second state showing “Marginal line completed. … Margins cleaned” (Finberg pp. 23–24). The state may however be from the second state as the initial (“H”) is no longer an open letter (i.e. it is filled in).

Finberg 6; (Alexander J Finberg 1988, “J. M. W. Turner’s Liber Studiorum with a Catalogue Raisonné”, San Francisco, Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, pp. 21–24, cat. no. 6).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:

“On the right, Jason climbs over broken tree-trunks in the foreground towards a cavern in the rock in which a coil of a serpent is seen emerging”

(https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1900-0824-10).

The Tate Gallery offers the following explanation of the portrayed subject based on JMW Turner’s painting of the same title (see URL below):

“Jason was a Greek hero, challenged to bring home from Colchis a golden fleece belonging to a marvellous ram. Here, Jason is seen stealing up on a dragon which he must outwit to gain the fleece.

The hero’s courage is emphasised by the way Turner suggests, rather than shows, the size and ferocity of the dragon. A single coil of its body emerges from the deep shadow, while the bones of previous human victims are scattered in front of its lair”

(https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-jason-n00471).

Condition: a richly inked early impression showing no sign of wear to the printing plate. The sheet is trimmed close to the platemark with chips to the margin edges and laid onto a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this exceptionally rare early impression of an important print in Turner’s oeuvre, for AU$433 (currently US$319.81/EUR267.08/GBP239.65 at the time of this listing) including Express Mail (EMS) postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries.

If you are interested in purchasing this superb etching showing Turner’s amazing creative invention—note, for example, his use of a latticework of lines to create shadow at the lower left—and imagination to suggest the awesome might of the dragon lurking in the cave by showing only a section of its arching tail, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold 











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