Joseph Mallord William Turner

Castle of La Rancia near Macerata


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 186 × 110 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXVII 3 a

Catalogue entry

This small sketch, occupying the top third of the sketchbook page, depicts the castle of La Rancia, a large fortress which lies close to the road between Macerata and Tolentino. Originally a grain store (grancia) for the Cistercian monks of the nearby abbey, the building was fortified during the fourteenth century. It had been the focus of numerous battles in Italy’s troubled history, including most recently in May 1815, when Giocchino Murat, the King of Naples and brother-in-law of Napoleon Bonaparte, was defeated here by Austrian troops in the Battle of Tolentino. Despite being drawn swiftly, probably from a moving carriage on the highway, Turner has clearly captured the distinctive square towers and swallow-tail castellations of the fort. The accompanying inscription ‘Tower di Bandina’, recalls the site’s connection with the nearby abbey of Santa Maria di Chiaravalle di Fiastra, owned since the late eighteenth century by the powerful Bandini family.
The position of this drawing within the sketchbook disrupts the correct geographical sequence of views according to Turner’s route from Ancona. Other sketches of the castle can be found on folios 16 verso (D14684) and 20 verso (D14692).

Nicola Moorby
November 2008

Read full Catalogue entry


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