Joseph Mallord William Turner

Buildings and Wayside Crosses in the Mountains near Bolzano (Bozen)

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 89 × 149 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D32318
Turner Bequest CCCXX 29 a

Catalogue entry

The main drawing was made with the page turned horizontally. It shows steps up a roadside mound to a shrine of crosses against the backdrop of rugged mountains on the fringes of the Dolomites around Bolzano (Bozen) or ‘Botzen’ as Turner has noted in the then common English spelling. The exact viewpoint has yet to be established, but is presumably in the vicinity of the city, which Turner appears to have approached south-eastwards from Merano (Meran; see folio 31 verso; D32322). At the top left is a thumbnail sketch framed by pencil lines, perhaps with Bolzano in the distance.
There are no other identified views of Bolzano itself in this sketchbook, but Turner evidently stayed there at least one night, as there are colour sketches on grey paper of a view over its rooftops at its centre, probably from his hotel room (Tate D32189, D36152; Turner Bequest CCCXVII 10, CCCLXIV 295), and similar sheets with views in the surrounding countryside, mostly featuring castles (D36154–D36156; CCCLXIV 297–299; see also two versos, D40178 and D40188). A page including various small mountain views, the only non-Venetian subjects in the contemporary Venice and Botzen sketchbook (Tate D31922; Turner Bequest CCCXIII 67), is also inscribed ‘Botzen’. Turner had paused on his return from Venice in 1833 to make numerous sketches of the mountains and castles in the area; see the Introduction to that year’s Venice up to Trento sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CCCXII).
A long sequence of sketches, mostly characterised as ‘Mountains’ by Finberg (with occasional identifications and transcriptions of the place names marked by the artist), lies between folios 7 recto and 76 recto (D32275–D32411).1 See the sketchbook’s Introduction for the likely overall route between Bregenz and Venice.2 The present page has twice been exhibited and listed without further discussion by association with the figure studies on folio 30 opposite (D33319).3

Matthew Imms
September 2018

1
See Finberg 1909, II, pp.1030–2.
2
See also Cecilia Powell, Turner in Germany, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1995, pp.65, 81 note 9.
3
See Chumbley and Warrell 1989, p.61, and Moorby 2014, pp.84–5.

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