Joseph Mallord William Turner

An Italianate Landscape Sketch


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 101 × 161 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXX 80

Catalogue entry

The subject of this landscape sketch is unidentified although it appears to show a view of Italian countryside with a villa on a hill, and part of an aqueduct or bridge. Turner has executed the study in pen and ink and wash without any indication of pencil under-drawing, which suggests that it may be an imaginary composition or capriccio. The sepia tones and compositional elements are perhaps reminiscent of the principles of Italianate landscape which Turner had studied in the work of Claude Lorrain (circa 1600–1682). The seventeenth-century painter was very much in Turner’s thoughts during his 1819 trip to Italy (see Tate D14663; Turner Bequest CLXXVII 6), and whilst in Rome he found the opportunity to view several examples of Claude’s work in famous collections such as that of the Doria-Pamphili and the Barberini families (see Tate D16848–D16850; Turner Bequest CXCIII 80–81).

Nicola Moorby
December 2009

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