Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Entrance to the Gondo Ravine, near the Simplon Pass

1819

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 121 x 195 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D16913
Turner Bequest CXCIV 12 a

Catalogue entry

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.

Nicola Moorby
April 2011

1
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.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/search_object_details.aspx?objectid=3295988&partid=1&searchText=simplon&fromADBC=ad&toADBC=ad&numpages=10&images=on&orig=%2fresearch%2fsearch_the_collection_database.aspx&currentPage=2.

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