Joseph Mallord William Turner
Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage - Italy exhibited 1832

Artwork details

Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage - Italy
Date Exhibited 1832
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1422 x 2483 mm
frame: 1920 x 3000 x 190 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Display caption

The title of this painting refers to Lord Byron’s long, epic poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (‘Childe’ is an archaic title for the son of a nobleman). Byron saw the remnants of Italy’s past as profoundly poignant: the country had, in the intervening years, lost both its liberty and integrity, but was still breathtakingly beautfiul. Turner showed his painting with these lines from Byron’s poem:

 … and now, fair Italy!
Thou are the garden of the world…
Thy wreck a glory, and thy ruin graced
With an immaculate charm which cannot be defaced.’

September 2004