Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin

Posilippo: The Castello di Donna Anna

c.1797

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Artists
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Thomas Girtin 1775–1802
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 192 x 381 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D36534
Turner Bequest CCCLXXV 13

Catalogue entry

Provenance:
Probably commissioned by Dr Thomas Monro
Monro’s posthumous sale, Christie’s, London, 26–28 June and 1–2 July 1833 (day and lot number not known)
Bought by or on behalf of Turner
This was copied with considerable modifications from a sketch by John Robert Cozens (1752–1797) in Beckford Sketchbook IV, p.7, titled ‘A Cassino built by Cardinal Spinelli, when Arch Bishop of Naples – Pausilippo’ and dated October 24 [1782] (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, D1975.7.7).1 The slightness of the pencil work in this drawing would suggest that Turner was responsible for the whole; there can be no doubt that he added the washes. However, if the inscription on the verso (which does not transcribe Cozens’s title) is in Girtin’s hand, it would indicate that he did indeed make the initial pencil drawing.
1
Bell and Girtin 1935, p.63 under no.294; Charles Nugent, British Watercolours in the Whitworth Art Gallery, the University of Manchester: A Summary Catalogue of Drawings and Watercolours by Artists Born before 1880, London and Manchester 2003, p.97, reproduced.
Verso:
Blank; inscribed, perhaps by Thomas Girtin, in pencil ‘il castello di donna Ann[a] | Pausilipo, Naple[s]’; by John Ruskin in red ink ‘203’ (faded); and in a later hand in blue pencil ‘213’.

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

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