after Joseph Mallord William Turner

Bridge at Narni,from Hakewill’s ‘Picturesque Tour in Italy’


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
After Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Line engraving on paper
Image: 139 × 221 mm
Purchased 1988

Catalogue entry

T05079 Bridge at Narni, from Hakewill's ‘Picturesque Tour of Italy’ engr. S. Middiman, pub.1819

Line-engraving 139 × 221 (5 1/2 × 8 11/16) on wove paper 280 × 386 (11 × 15 13/16); plate mark 226 × 305 (8 7/8 × 12)
Engraved inscriptions: ‘Drawn by J.M.W. Turner, R.A. from a finish'd Sketch by James Hakewill.’ below image b.l., ‘Engraved by S Middiman.’ below image b.r., ‘Bridge at Narni. | Published, as the act directs, March 1, 1819, by John Murray, Albermarle Str. London.’ below image at centre
Purchased (Grant-in-Aid) 1988
Prov: ...; N.W. Lott and H.J. Gerrish Ltd, from whom bt by Tate Gallery
Lit: Rawlinson I 1908, no.146, second published state; Cecilia Powell, ‘Topography, Imagination and Travel: Turner's Relationship with James Hakewill’, Art History, vol.5, no.4, 1982, pp.408–25; Cecilia Powell, Turner in the South, 1987, p.35, repr.

Published as pl.8 of Hakewill's work. Original water-colour: private collection (Wilton 1979, no.702).

A Picturesque Tour of Italy from Drawings Made in 1816–17 by James Hakewill Archt. was published in London by John Murray in 1818–20. The advertisement for the publication in the Literary Gazette first appeared on 1 April 1818 and continued until 1820. It stated that the engraved plates would be ‘published in parts each of which will contain not less than five engravings ... The Work will be completed in about fifteen parts and the first will be published on the first of February [1818]’. This arrangement was generally adhered to although only twelve parts were issued, the first of which was delayed until 18 May 1818. The plates were available in two sizes: ‘Small paper’, royal quarto, impressions at 12s. 6d. per part, and ‘Large paper’, imperial quarto, at 18s. Proofs were for sale at 18s. on plain paper or 30s. on India paper. The publication of the parts continued intermittently until the autumn of 1820 when all sixty-three copper-plate engravings, eighteen of which were after Turner, were published together in one volume, accompanied by a descriptive letterpress. The order of the plates was entirely rearranged and followed a geographical tour through Italy.

There was no mention in the advertisement of Turner or any other artist other than James Hakewill (1778–1843). Hakewill's plans for the illustration of his volume seem to have caused a furore with the publisher, John Murray. After the initial agreement for the publication had been drawn up, Hakewill sent Murray a ‘Memorandum of the State of the Italian Work July 17 1818’, showing that at an earlier date Hakewill had decided to commission eight painters to produce watercolours for engraving, based on his own camera obscura pencil outline drawings, rather than sending these directly to the engravers. By the time the Memorandum was sent the majority of their sixty drawings were finished and some were already with the engravers. Murray's angry response on 21 July 1818 shows that the publisher had apparently not given his consent to these arrangements and was only willing to accept Turner's watercolours for engraving. As a result, some of the watercolours by other artists were cancelled or recalled from the engravers, although the production still went ahead largely according to Hakewill's scheme, albeit on a smaller scale. The other artists, who included John Varley, Copley Fielding and William Westall, were probably paid by Hakewill; their names were not inscribed on the engravings.

Turner was the most important artist employed, both in terms of his renown and his input on the project; his commission for twenty finished watercolours represented a third of the subjects produced for the entire scheme. Turner's watercolours were based on drawings Hakewill had made on the spot during his extensive tour of Italy in 1816 and 1817. It was for Hakewill's Italy that Turner first produced watercolours based on amateur drawings of places that he had not visited, but this practice was to become an important feature of his work for the engravers later in his career, particularly in the 1830s (see, for example, White's Views in India, T05176-T15182, or Finden's Landscape Illustrations of the Bible, T05152-T05175). The earliest record of Turner's involvement with Hakewill's Italy was on 15 June 1818, when he received the large sum of 200 guineas from John Murray for ten watercolours. However, there is no record of further payment and, in the event, only eighteen of the watercolours were engraved and published. The engravers were paid either £50 or 50 guineas per plate.

Perhaps because of the large financial outlay, Hakewill's Italy was not a financial success and Murray sold the twenty Turner watercolours, resulting in their widespread dispersal. In 1831 six small replicas of Turner's subjects (Rawlinson II 1913, nos.342–5, together with ‘The Roman Forum from the Capitol’ and ‘Rome, Bridge and Castle of St. Angelo’) were engraved by H. Adlard for publication in Josiah Conder's three volume guidebook, Italy.

‘Bridge at Narni’ was Middiman's only complete plate for the series, although he also worked on the plate of ‘Lake of Nemi’ with John Pye.

Published in:
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986-88, London 1996

You might like

In the shop