Eye Candy for Today: JMW Turner etching and mezzotint

Bridge and Cows (Liber Studiorum, part I, plate 2), Joseph Mallord William Turner
Bridge and Cows (Liber Studiorum, part I, plate 2), Joseph Mallord William Turner

In the Metropolitan Museum of Art; use the zoom or download links under the image.

Part of a series of etchings Turner produced, categorized to illustrate the various kinds of landscape (in this case “P” for “Pastoral”), this beautiful etching and mezzotint was, like the others in the series, derived from preliminary drawings Turner did in brown watercolor, and is printed in brown ink, carrying forward that wonderful quality that such drawings can have.

The byline indicates “Designed and etched by Joseph Mallord William Turner”, but as the Met’s page points out, the mezzotint was applied to the plate by engraver Charles Turner (no relation), with whom JMW Turner frequently collaborated.

(For a bit more on mezzotint, see my Eye Candy post on James Stephenson’s mezzotint version of Millais’ Ophelia.)

I love Turner’s loose, gestural line, the delicacy of the clouds, and the wonderfully textural quality and moody darks of the tree trunks and bridge.

 
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