Joseph Mallord William Turner

Belforte del Chienti

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 110 × 186 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D14698
Turner Bequest CLXXVII 23 a

Catalogue entry

As indicated by the inscribed place name, this page shows a distant view of Belforte del Chienti, a small hillside village approximately fourteen miles south-west of Macerata. Visible on the horizon can be seen the cone-shaped bell-tower of the Church of Sant’Eustachio and just to the right of that, the domed lantern of the clock tower of the Palazzo Comunale. Related sketches can be found on 24 verso (D14700), as well as in the Route to Rome sketchbook (Tate D13901; Turner Bequest CLXXI 23).
The single arched bridge in the foreground is probably the same one which appears in James Hakewill’s drawing of 1817, ‘In the Apennines near Belforte’.1 The view corresponds to the description by John Chetwode Eustace in A Classical Tour Through Italy:
A little beyond Tollentino we began to enter the defiles of the Apennines; the hills closing and swelling into mountains, the river roughening into a torrent, and the rocks breaking here and there into huge precipices. The road runs along the sides of the hills, with the Chienti rolling below on the left. A little beyond Belforte, a view opens over the precipice towards a bridge, and presents a landscape of very bold features.2
Turner himself also knew this passage since he made notes upon the relevant pages in the Italian Guide Book sketchbook (see Tate D13939; Turner Bequest CLXXII 4a).

Nicola Moorby
November 2008

1
Tony Cubberley and Luke Herrmann, Twilight of the Grand Tour: A Catalogue of the drawings by James Hakewill in the British School at Rome Library, Rome 1992, no.2.56, p.174 reproduced.
2
John Chetwode Eustace, A Classical Tour Through Italy, London 1815, vol.I, pp.307–8.

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