William Taverner

Italian Composition: The Outskirts of a Town


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
William Taverner 1700–1772
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 195 × 459 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

Display caption

William Taverner, a lawyer by profession, was also a talented amateur watercolourist. The majority of his paintings depict imaginary, ideal compositions in the manner of the great classical masters, Lorrain, Poussin and Dughet. This subject is an Italianate ‘capriccio’ (a composite of different subjects) featuring a classical temple in the distance resembling the Temple of the Sibyl at Tivoli. Although highly respected as an artist, Taverner was reluctant to display his work, and, according to one contemporary, ‘had much quaking abt. shewing his pictures’.

Gallery label, April 2007

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