Joseph Mallord William Turner

Avise, Val d’Aosta

1802

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Chalk, gouache and graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 213 × 283 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D04519
Turner Bequest LXXIV 26

Catalogue entry

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
1
Hill 2000, pp.78, 188 reproduced; Hill 1990 reproduced.
Verso:
Blank, inscribed by later hands in pencil ‘25 or 16’ and ‘?page’

David Blayney Brown
September 2011

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