View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
The road between Domodossola in Italy, and Brig in Switzerland via the Simplon Pass was built by Napoleon during the early nineteenth century. At five different points along the route there are tunnels or galleries hewn through the rock to make the road passable through heavy snow. This sketch appears to depict the one of those tunnels, possibly the entrance to the ravine near Gondo, also known as the Galerie d’Algaby.1 The dark ground of the grey watercolour wash makes the rest of the composition difficult to discern.
For a general discussion of Turner’s expedition to the Simplon Pass see the introduction to the sketchbook.
A comparable view can be seen in a print by Gabriel Lory, Vue de la Galerie d’Algaby prise du côté du Vallais, from Voyage Pittoresque de Genè à Milan par le Simplon 1811, reproduced at http://www
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