Book Discussion

Curators in Conversation: Turner’s Last Sketchbook

Free admission

Elizabeth Wyckoff and Jennifer Tonkovich will discuss the museum’s most recent publication in the context of artists’ sketchbooks. 

About this program

Join us to celebrate the Yale Center for British Art’s recent publication of Turner’s Last Sketchbook, a facsimile of an exuberant and colorful sketchbook by J. M. W. Turner in the museum’s collection. In this lively discussion, Elizabeth Wyckoff, Curator of Prints and Drawings, Yale Center for British Art, and Jennifer Tonkovich, Eugene and Clare Thaw Curator of Drawings and Prints, the Morgan Library and Museum, will situate Turner’s drawing practice within the broader context of the often-private worlds of artists’ sketchbooks. 

This event will take place at Yale University Art Gallery and will be livestreamed

About the book

J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851) seldom left home without a sketchbook. Over the course of his lifetime, he filled more than three hundred, most of them small enough to carry in his pocket. This facsimile represents Turner’s last known intact sketchbook, now in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art. Turner used it on the coast of the English Channel in Kent, in and around Margate, from June to September 1845. The volume is accompanied by a poem in which Tracey Emin (b. 1963) expresses her personal connection with Turner’s work. Emin grew up in Margate, the seaside town that Turner returned to time and again to draw. This presentation of Turner’s sketchbook includes generous margins and blank pages to encourage further sketches, in the spirit of the artist.

About Elizabeth Wyckoff

Elizabeth Wyckoff is Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Yale Center for British Art and has more than thirty years of curatorial and museum experience. She served as the curator and department head of prints, drawings, and photographs at the Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM) from 2010 to 2023. She previously held curatorial positions in the prints and drawings collections of the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the New York Public Library. During her tenure at SLAM, Wyckoff curated numerous exhibitions and oversaw several transformative acquisitions, from old masters to contemporary prints and drawings. She has lectured and published extensively on subjects ranging from sixteenth-century historical prints to contemporary works on paper. 

About Jennifer Tonkovich

Jennifer Tonkovich is the Eugene and Clare Thaw Curator of Drawings and Prints at the Morgan Library and Museum, New York. In more than twenty-five years as a curator, her research has focused on French and British drawings as well as the history of collecting and art dealing in the eighteenth and twentieth centuries. Recent publications include a series of articles on William Hogarth’s drawings, with installments on Beer Street and Gin Lane (2021) and, with Laurel Peterson, the Stages of Cruelty (2024). At present she is delving further into British romanticism and William Blake’s passion for the works of John Milton. Her favorite British drawing in the Morgan’s collection is Turner’s watercolor Pass at Faido.

Top image
Turner’s Last Sketchbook, photo by Richard Caspole