View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
Turin was the first major Italian city which Turner reached on his 1819 tour and he made a large number of sketches in and around the city. This sketch represents part of a view of Turin from the heights above the eastern (right) bank of the River Po, at a point near the Monte dei Cappuccini. The composition continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 25 verso (D14193; Turner Bequest CLXXIV 24a), but visible on this side is the recently constructed Ponte Vittorio Emanuele I, the bridge connecting the right bank of the river with the main part of Turin on the opposite side.1 Directly beyond the bridge is the Palazzo Madama, identifiable from its distinctive square shape and cylindrical towers. Turner has recorded the rest of the topography of the city spread out along the left bank of the river, while dominating the background is the majestic line of the Alps. For further sketches of Turin see folio 12 (D14166; Turner Bequest CLXXIV 11), while for a similar contemporaneous view see a drawing by James Hakewill (1778–1843), Turin from the Road to the Vagine di La Reine (British School at Rome).2
The drawing was selected by Ralph Nicholson Wornum for the Second Loan Collection, a group of sixty-two works exhibited in the provinces during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.3 It was removed from the sketchbook and displayed within a mount. Consequently, like the other works included in those tours, the page has suffered badly from over-exposure to light and the paper has yellowed considerably.
The view today would be partially obscured by the church of Gran Madre di Dio which was built between 1818–31. The sketch also pre-dates the completion of present-day Piazza Vittoria Veneto, one of the largest urban squares in Europe.
Tony Cubberley and Luke Herrmann, Twilight of the Grand Tour: A Catalogue of the drawings by James Hakewill in the British School at Rome Library, Rome 1992, no.2.15, p.131, reproduced.
Warrell 1991, pp.43–5.
You might like
Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin View of the Alps from near Turin