Joseph Mallord William Turner

An Island with Buildings, Perhaps on Lake Maggiore

c.1828

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 307 x 491 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25140
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 18

Catalogue entry

Finberg thought this ethereal, sunlit scene of buildings across water might represent the Italian island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples.1 Eric Shanes has suggested a connection with the watercolour Arona, Lago Maggiore of about 1828 (private collection),2 engraved for The Keepsake in 1829 (Tate impression: T05106), perhaps showing one of the Borromean Islands,3 ‘albeit without any of the distant mountains that surround that large expanse of water’4 on the Swiss-Italian border south of the Alps.
Shanes has proposed that the buildings might relate to those seen in a view of Moncalieri in the 1819 Turin, Como, Lugarno, Maggiore sketchbook (Tate D14187; Turner Bequest CLXXIV 21a), while comparing the general setting to views on the lake elsewhere in the same book (Tate D14291–D14292; Turner Bequest CLXXIV 75a–76),5 although the resemblance may be generic. Tate D25301 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 179) is a similar composition, and was once joined to this work, as discussed in the technical notes below.
1
See Finberg 1909, II, p.815.
2
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.384 no.730, reproduced.
3
See Shanes 1997, p.98.
4
Shanes 1997, p.29.
5
Ssee Shanes 1997, p.94.
Technical notes:
Eric Shanes has noted that this sheet was originally half of a larger one, the other part being Tate D25301 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 179), which bears an 1828 watermark.1
1
See Shanes 1997, pp.29, 94.
Verso:
Blank; laid down. Verso of white wove paper backing sheet inscribed in pencil ‘AB 168 P M’ towards bottom right; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram over ‘CCLXIII 18’ towards bottom right.

Matthew Imms
August 2016

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