For Turner’s visit to the Val d’Aosta in 1802 see Introduction to the sketchbook.
Thought by John Ruskin and subsequent commentators including the present writer to represent somewhere in the Chartreuse, this subject was first recognised by David Hill. Avise is a fortified village on the edge of a deep gorge, with two towers, church and houses forming a picturesque, tightly-knit cluster. In 1802, as he moved along the valley towards Aosta, Turner made just this one drawing of the ensemble. Its relatively high finish and carefully worked-out composition show how impressed he was by the scenery and suggest the possibility of subsequent development, although no watercolour version ensued. When Turner returned to the valley in 1836 he drew the village again, from various angles, in the Val d’Aosta sketchbook (for example Tate D29107; Turner Bequest CCXCIII 38a); Hill provides a commentary and reproduces his own photograph of the village, showing the buildings depicted here.1
Hill 2000, pp.78, 188 reproduced; Hill 1990 reproduced.
Blank, inscribed by later hands in pencil ‘25 or 16’ and ‘?page’