Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Monument to Charles Emmanuel II on the Voie Sarde; with the Latin Inscription from the Top


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 x 185 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXIII 71 a

Catalogue entry

The subject of this sketch is the monument to Charles Emmanuel II, Duke of Savoy, which stands on the Voie Sarde (Sardinian Way), a historic route through a natural canyon in the Chartreuse Mountains just east of Les Échelles, Savoy. The Duke ordered the renovation of the ancient Roman road and the work, completed in 1670, was commemorated by a stone memorial built into the side of the rock face. Turner’s study shows an oblique view of the structure from the side, looking west from the Voie Sarde across the open plain beyond towards Les Échelles. In the centre is a vertical rock formation known as ‘Le Pilon’ which stands near the entrance to a limestone cave, the ‘Grotte inférieure’ or ‘Grotte du Grand Goulet’, one of two caves known as the Grottes des Échelles. For a more detailed study of the monument see folio 71 (D14108). On the left-hand side of the page, parallel with the left-hand edge, Turner has made a copy of part of the Latin inscription from the top of the memorial. His transcription, which only records the first and last few lines and is not entirely accurate, reads as follows:
Carolus Emmanuel II | abaudiae DUX Princeps Cypri Rex | Publica Felicitate Singui Orum Commodis | [?...] L| Anno MDCLXX 1
Further views of the Voie Sarde can be found on folios 72–72 verso (D14110–D14111).

Nicola Moorby
March 2013

The full inscription should read: CAROLVS EMMANVEL II | SABAVDIAE DUX PEDEM PRINCEPS CYPRI REX | PVBLICA FELICITATE PARTA SINGVI ORVM COMMODIS | .... | ANNO MDCLXX. The monument was restored during the 1990s.

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