Joseph Mallord William Turner

Notes by the Artist on ‘Landscape with the Port of Santa Marinella’ by Claude Lorrain in the Sciarra Collection, Rome; and a Rough Sketch of Distant Buildings

1819

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Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Dimensions
Support: 115 x 94 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D16866
Turner Bequest CXCIII 94

Catalogue entry

This page contains handwritten notes by Turner concerning a painting by Claude Lorrain (circa 1604/5–1682), Landscape with the Port of Santa Marinella circa 1639–40 (Petit Palais, Paris), formerly in the collection of Prince Maffeo Barberini Colonna di Sciarra.1 He also made a rough pencil copy of the composition, see folio 81 (D16848; Turner Bequest CXCIII 80). The inscription, first transcribed by Finberg,2 reads as follows:
Chara Claude | the Sun in the Center and sky full | of clouds. rather spotted and too strong | for the whole. the upper part of the sky | Blue and the water too much so – | in parts – two buildings are well colord | one rather red. the other grey and brown | shadow
Turner’s identification of the painting as the ‘Chara Claude’ is probably a phonetic attempt to spell the Italian name, ‘Sciarra’. His comments about the picture’s colouring and composition are typical of his attitude towards the Old Masters, both admiring and critical. In this instance he approves of the treatment of the buildings in the middle distance but seems to feel that Claude’s depiction of nature’s effects lacks subtlety.3
Also on the page is a very rough inverted sketch which appears to depict a distant line of buildings.

Nicola Moorby
March 2011

1
Reproduced Powell 1987, p.68 and Ian Warrell, Blandine Chavanne and Michael Kitson, Turner et le Lorrain, exhibition catalogue, Musée des beaux-arts, Nancy 2002, p.109, ill.47.
2
Finberg 1909, p.575.
3
Powell 1987, pp.[67]–8.

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