Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1807-01-20 Published

WAG 4479

About this object

This print, 'Jason', is plate 6 of Turner's 'Liber Studiorum' series. It is an example of the 'Historical' category of landscape painting. It was published with the 1st part of the series on 20 January 1807.

The mythological story of Jason and the Argonauts is the inspiration for this picture. The story follows Jason’s epic journey to recover the Golden Fleece. In this scene he is shown approaching the sleepless dragon that guards it.

Turner hoped to demonstrate that landscape painting was the greatest of all the painting genres because it was capable of adapting to a diverse range of subjects, including historical scenes like this one.

The 'Liber Studiorum' illustrated Turner’s arguments for the supremacy of landscape painting. The title means ‘book of studies’ in Latin. It contained no written text, instead it was made up of individual mezzotint prints on paper. They were released in fourteen parts from around 1807 until 1819. Turner intended the 'Liber' to consist of 100 prints but only 71 were ultimately produced.

The prints reflected the five categories of landscape painting Turner believed existed: architectural, historical, marine, mountainous and pastoral. Turner wrote an initial on each work to indicate which category it belonged to.

Object specifics

  • Artist(s)
    Charles Turner (British, born:1774-07-31, died:1857-08-01)
    Joseph Mallord William Turner (British: English, born:1775-05-23 probably, died:1851-12-19)
  • Date
    1807-01-20 Published
  • Materials
    Mezzotint; Paper
  • Measurements
    image: 18.4 cm x 25.7 cm
  • Physical description
    A landscape depicting the classical legend of Jason and the serpent. In the centre the coil of a serpent’s tail emerges from a dark cavern in the rock. Jason dressed in armour advances over bare tree trunks holding a sword in his right hand. The scene is covered with broken tree trunks and foliage.
  • Related people
    Charles Turner (Artist/maker, engraver) ; Joseph Mallord William Turner (Artist/maker)
  • Other number(s)
    WAG Inventory Number: 4479
  • Credit line
    Purchased by the Walker Art Gallery in 1874
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Collection
    From the Walker Art Gallery collections


Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: H
    Inscription method: Printed
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Above plate
Object view = Fine Art
Page load time: 93 ms