Joseph Mallord William Turner

Quayside at Boffalora sopra Ticino


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 111 x 186 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXIV 44

Catalogue entry

Turner’s route between Turin and Milan took him through Buffalora sopra Ticino, a village approximately fifteen miles west of Milan which represented the official border between the regions of Piedmont and Lombardy.1 Here he appears to have stayed overnight, or at least tarried long enough to make a significant number of detailed studies of the place, see folio 44 verso (D14228; Turner Bequest CLXXIV 43a). This sketch depicts a view looking north-west from the quayside of the Naviglio Grande, a man-made canal which joins the Ticino river to Milan. Just visible in the centre of the composition is the seventeenth-century bridge over the canal, while looming in the background are the distant mountains of the Alps. Turner has documented the hustle and bustle of activity along the quayside, including a figure who appears to be loading or unloading a narrow barge or canal boat, known as a barchett.
Turner revisited Boffalora on his 1828 tour of Italy and made a very similar sketch from the same spot, see the Rome, Turin and Milan sketchbook (D21685; Turner Bequest CCXXXV 11a).

Nicola Moorby
January 2013

For information about the border crossing at Boffalora see Crimi 2007, p.25.

Read full Catalogue entry