TURNER, Joseph Mallord William (1775 - 1851); LLOYD, Hannibal Evans; HEATH, Charles (engraver)
Picturesque views of England and Wales from drawings by J. M. W. Turner esq. R. A. engraved under the superintendence of Mr. Charles Heath with descriptive and historic illustrations by H. E. Lloyd, esq.
London : Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans, Paternoster Row, 1838. Elephant folio portfolio, original full red morocco with elaborate ornamental gilt borders, spine with raised bands, gilt ornament and lettering; working metal clasps; original marbled paper lining to the interior; containing title-sheet, two contents sheets and  loose engraved plates, chine-collé, uniform plate size 165 x 300mm; the etchings are in proof state, without the publisher’s information, the titles of the plates being supplied in a slightly later hand in pencil in the lower margins; occasional mild foxing, a little heavier in places, but for the most part confined to the margins of the sheets; complete as issued, a good example of this publication, with the engravings in proof state.
The engravings in the present portfolio are associated with a major series of 120 watercolours produced by Turner, which has been described by Andrew Wilton as ‘the central document in Turner’s art’ (Wilton, 1979: 186). Of these 120 watercolours, 96 were engraved and issued periodically under the direction of Charles Heath in parts containing four plates, with the publication process beginning in 1827 and concluding in 1838.
When Heath first decided to undertake the publishing project in 1826, he wrote confidently to a friend that ‘I have just begun a most splendid work [with] Turner the Academician. He is making me 120 Drawings of England and Wales – I have got four and they are the finest things I ever saw … I mean to have them engraved by all the first artists’ (Shanes, 1990: 13). In the summer of 1833, Heath organised an exhibition of 66 watercolours from Turner’s series at the Moon, Boys and Graves Gallery at 6 Pall Mall, London. Reporting on the event, an article in The Times commented that ‘two hundred artists and literati’ had been present, along with Turner himself (Shanes, 1990: 16). However, despite the critical success of the exhibition, the project of publishing the engravings proved unprofitable for Heath, who decided in 1836 to reduce the number of prints to 96 and, in 1838, discontinued the project altogether.
Another example of the complete series of 96 etchings in proof state, before the publication information was added to the plates, is held in the Yale Center for British Art. There are numerous institutional holdings for individual engraved plates from this famous series.
Chine-collé is a particular technique in printmaking, whereby the image is transferred onto a primary surface, which is in turn bonded to a secondary, heavier support during the printing process. This allows the print to be applied first to a more delicate surface, which pulls finer details off the plate. This technique is showcased in the set offered here.
References: Wilton, Andrew. The life and work of J.M.W. Turner. London : Academy Editions, 1979; Shanes, Eric. Turner’s England 1810-1838. London : Cassell, 1990.