Finberg thought this ethereal, sunlit scene of buildings across water might represent the Italian island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples.1 Eric Shanes has suggested a connection with the watercolour Arona, Lago Maggiore of about 1828 (private collection),2 engraved for The Keepsake in 1829 (Tate impression: T05106), perhaps showing one of the Borromean Islands,3 ‘albeit without any of the distant mountains that surround that large expanse of water’4 on the Swiss-Italian border south of the Alps.
Shanes has proposed that the buildings might relate to those seen in a view of Moncalieri in the 1819 Turin, Como, Lugarno, Maggiore sketchbook (Tate D14187; Turner Bequest CLXXIV 21a), while comparing the general setting to views on the lake elsewhere in the same book (Tate D14291–D14292; Turner Bequest CLXXIV 75a–76),5 although the resemblance may be generic. Tate D25301 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 179) is a similar composition, and was once joined to this work, as discussed in the technical notes below.
Blank; laid down. Verso of white wove paper backing sheet inscribed in pencil ‘AB 168 P M’ towards bottom right; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram over ‘CCLXIII 18’ towards bottom right.