Joseph Mallord William Turner

Windsor Castle from the North; and the Passo di Portella at Monte San Biagio, Italy

c.1819, 1819

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 113 x 189 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D16087
Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 90 a

Catalogue entry

Unusually the main sketch on this page does not relate to Turner’s trip to Naples and southern Italy but instead depicts a view of Windsor Castle and Eton College chapel seen from the north.1 Cecilia Powell has proposed that the study dates from the summer either before or after the 1819 Italian tour, in June 1818 or 1820.2 However the composition is particularly close to an unpublished plate for the ‘Liber Studiorum’, Windsor Castle from Salt Hill (‘Sheep-Washing, Windsor’) (Tate D08171; Turner Bequest CXVIII Q),3 and the related series of sketches dating from June 1818 in the Skies sketchbook (see for example Tate D12513; Turner Bequest CLVIII 62a). Compare also an earlier oil study, Windsor Castle from Salt Hill (Tate N02312). It has also been suggested that the study of plants on folio 91 verso (D16085; Turner Bequest CLXXXVI 89a) is reminiscent of those in the Walmer Ferry sketchbook and therefore might also date from the same time.4
In the top right-hand corner of the sheet is an unrelated study which does relate to Turner’s Italian tour, specifically the return journey from Naples to Rome. The subject is the Passo di Portella, a sixteenth-century gate comprised of an arch and two cylindrical towers which until 1870 marked the customs border of the Kingdom of Naples. The gate was situated at Monte San Biagio, a small town on the lower slopes of Monti Ausoni between Terracina and Fondi, which during the nineteenth century was known as Monticello di Fondi. For further views see the Gandolfo to Naples sketchbook (Tate D15597; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV 21).

Nicola Moorby
September 2010

1
First identified in Butlin, Wilton and Gage 1974, p.91 under no.232.
2
Powell 1984, p.426.
3
For a discussion of this composition see Gillian Forrester, Turner’s ‘Drawing Book’: The Liber Studiorum, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1996, pp.136–7.
4
Butlin, Wilton and Gage 1974, pp.91 under no.232 and 96 under no.259.

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