J.M.W. Turner, R.A. 1775 - 1851
The Woman and Tambourine
Photo: R.A./John Hammond
© Royal Academy of Arts, London
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The Woman and Tambourine
Etching and mezzotint, 183 X 266 mm
Etched by J.M.W. Turner, R.A. Engraved by Charles Turner, A.R.A. Printed by James Lahee Published by J.M.W. Turner, R.A., 11 June 1807?.
From: J.M.W. Turner, Liber Studiorum, London, [1807-19], Part I, [pl. 3]
Given by A.A. Allen, 1938
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Issued in part 1 of the Liber, this is the first plate to be published in Turner's 'EP' category. Unlike his other abbreviations - 'H' for Historical, 'M' or 'Ms' for Mountainous, 'P' for Pastoral, 'M' for Marine and 'A' for Architectural - Turner never revealed what he meant the letters 'EP' to stand for. However, since all fourteen parts of the Liber include an 'EP' and Pastoral subject, it is clear that the two categories were always intended in some sense to define each other through a contrast of 'high' (or 'elevated') and 'low' (i.e. mundane) subject matter. In common with many of the subsequent EP plates, 'Woman and Tambourine' is a deliberate evocation of Claude Lorrain's 'poetic' or 'Arcadian' mode of landscape painting. In these subjects Turner is taking up the challenge not only of bettering Richard Earlom's engravings of Claude's Liber Veritatis (the poor quality of which as reproductions he clearly set out to avoid in his own 'Liber'), but also of demonstrating his ability to match Claude's mastery of classical landscape.