Gerrish Fine Art - prints paintings drawings sculpture uk
Home Events Our Artists New Acquisitions Monthly Online Exhibition Mailing List Contact Fineprintshop


April 2011: J.M.W.Turner's Liber Studiorum, 1807-1819

Turner’s Liber Studiorum first appeared in 1807 and throughout the next twelve years 71 of an intended 100 prints were irregularly issued. It was planned that Turner should do the preliminary etchings and that the mezzotint should be added under his direction, by Charles Turner, one of the foremost mezzotinters of the day. Unfortunately a difference of opinion after only 20 plates meant that to complete the remaining 51 prints, Turner had to employ eight more engravers as well as mezzotinting 11 plates himself. They are of the greatest significance being, apart from eleven works for the ‘Little Liber’, the only finished prints totally by Turner. They show the artist’s absolute mastery of the medium and stand amongst the most innovative mezzotints in the history of printmaking. Such experience was invaluable when it came to Turner’s supervision over his engravers. His involvement was fully appreciated by W.G. Rawlinson who wrote, ‘Turner was in the habit of constantly visiting Lahees’ printing office to watch the effects of new plates, and the results of his alterations and repairs of old ones. Standing by the press he would examine each impression as it came off, and with a needle, scraper or burnisher make such changes or retouches on the cooper as thought desirable, sometimes, indeed, getting the plate in such a condition that it had to be entirely reworked”.

Thus the format of a preliminary etched design by Turner with mezzotint added under his guidance came into being, and the prints were issued under the following classifications: Architectural, Pastoral, Marine, Historical and Mountains. The corresponding initial letters, A., P., E.P., M., H., Ms or M appear on each plate above the subject.

Ignoring its financial failure and its untimely end, the Liber Studiorum was a complete success in displaying, as intended, the artist’s full powers of expression and richly deserves the accolade bestowed upon it by W.G Rawlinson, “For all time it will be regarded as a monumental work of art, and it will take rank with the highest productions of the greatest landscape painter which the world has yet seen”.

Mezzotints by Frank Short

The last twelve items in this exhibition comprise the work of Frank Short who devoted a large part of his career to reproducing work from the 'Liber Studiorum' and in so doing resurrected the art of mezzotint in England. Apart from copies of published prints he created sixteen new plates some of which reproduced Turner's unpublished works, of which only a few proofs existed. Others designs for the series, which Turner had never committed to copper, were made into etchings and mezzotints by Short. These were exhibited by Dunthorne, in 1897, and the catalogue was prefaced, 'New Mezzotints by Frank Short completing the Book as arranged by Turner'. These included a large proportion of Turner's finest and most characteristic subjects.

Short's 'Liber' was received with enthusiasm by all the lovers of Turner's art, including Ruskin who helped the young artist in creating these exquisite prints.

'Dear Mr Short, - Are these lovely things really for me to keep? Any one of them would have been a dazzling birthday present for me; but above all gifts, the pleasure of seeing such work done again, and knowing that the worker is as happy as he is strong in it, lights the spring of the year for me more than the most cloudless sunshine on its golden hills. You are doing all these things as well as they can be done - and I believe Turner has got through Purgatory by this time, and his first stage in Paradise is at your elbow..' - J. Ruskin.

The dates of all the works are when published and not date of creation. Several of the prints are in original condition and a description will be suppled on demand. Any necessary restoration will not be charged for.

Archived Online Exhibitions - click a previous month
August 2017 
July 2017 
June 2017 
May 2017 
April 2017 
March 2017 
February 2017 
January 2017 
December 2016 
November 2016 
October 2016 
September 2016 
August 2016 
July 2016 
June 2016 
May 2016 
April 2016 
March 2016 
February 2016 
January 2016 
December 2015 
November 2015 
October 2015 
September 2015 
August 2015 
July 2015 
June 2015 
May 2015 
April 2015 
March 2015 
February 2015 
January 2015 
December 2014 
November 2014 
October 2014 
September 2014 
August 2014 
July 2014 
June 2014 
May 2014 
April 2014 
March 2014 
February 2014 
January 2014 
December 2013 
November 2013 
October 2013 
September 2013 
August 2013 
July 2013 
June 2013 
May 2013 
April 2013 
March 2013 
February 2013 
January 2013 
December 2012 
November 2012 
October 2012 
September 2012 
August 2012 
July 2012 
June 2012 
May 2012 
April 2012 
March 2012 
February 2012 
January 2012 
December 2011 
November 2011 
October 2011 
September 2011 
August 2011 
July 2011 
June 2011 
May 2011 
April 2011 
March 2011 
February 2011 
January 2011 
December 2010 
November 2010 
October 2010 
September 2010 
August 2010 
Turner, J. M. W. (1775-1851), 'The Crypt of Kirkstall Abbey', Etching, Aquatint & Mezzotint, 1812.
Turner, J. M. W. (1775-1851), 'Interior of a Church', Etching & Mezzotint, 1819.
Turner, J. M. W. (1775-1851), 'Bridge and Cows', Etching & Mezzotint, 1807.
Turner, J. M. W. (1775-1851), 'Jason', Etching & Mezzotint, 1807.
Turner, J. M. W. (1775-1851), 'The Castle Above the Meadows', Etching & Mezzotint, 1808.
Turner, J. M. W. (1775-1851), 'Mt. St. Gothard', Etching & Mezzotint, 1808.
Turner, J. M. W. (1775-1851), 'The Bridge in the Middle Distance', Etching & Mezzotint, 1808.
Turner, J. M. W. (1775-1851), 'Dunstanborough Castle', Etching & Mezzotint, 1808.
Turner, J. M. W. (1775-1851) 'The Farmyard with Cock', Etching and Mezzotint, 1809.
Turner, J. M. W. (1775-1851), 'Drawing of the Clyde', Etching & Mezzotint, 1809.
Turner, J. M. W. (1775-1851), 'Little Devil's Bridge', Etching & Mezzotint, 1809.
Turner, J. M. W. (1775-1851), 'Morpeth', Etching & Mezzotint, 1809.
Page 1 of 4   |  1  2  3  4  
Go Back
  Specialists in 19th and 20th Century Works of Art
Member of the IFPDA Follow us on Facebook
  © Gerrish Fine Art | site design - Futurestore