Joseph Mallord William Turner

Copies of Pictures by Tintoretto in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice; and Sketches of a Landscape and Woman, ?Senigallia


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink on paper
Support: 114 × 88 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXI 26 a

Catalogue entry

During his 1819 stay in Venice, Turner made a particular study of the famous cycle of paintings by Tintoretto (1518–94) in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. Ian Warrell has identified the four sketches at the top of this page as copies of pictures from the ground floor and stairs. The subjects are, from top left to bottom right, as follows:
The study in the top left-hand corner represents The Annunciation circa 1582–7, from the ground floor hall1 Turner has annotated the sketch ‘A’, presumably a short-hand reference to the title of the painting.
Top right-hand corner is Adoration of the Magi circa 1582, also from the ground floor hall.2
Second from top-left depicts the Flight into Egypt circa 1582–7, also from the ground floor hall.3 The study is inscribed ‘Darker | like the | [...]’.
Second from top-right is a detail from The Madonna Saves Venice from the Plague of 1630 1673, by Pietro Negri (died 1679).4 This vast canvas is located on the stairs of the Scuola Grande. Turner has annotated the drawing ‘Negri Pieta Death’.
Further sketches from the Scuola Grande and the Chiesa di San Rocco can be seen on folios 23 verso, 24 verso, 25 verso–26, 27, 29 verso–30 verso (D13902, D13904, D13906–D13907, D13909, D13914–D13916).
At the bottom this sheet is a rough, on-the-spot sketch of an unidentified landscape with clouds above distant hills. The inscription compares the view to the mountains in the background of Claude Lorrain’s painting, Landscape with Jacob and Laban and his Daughters circa 1654 (National Trust),5 which Turner had seen in the collection of his patron, Lord Egremont of Petworth House. Also on the page is a study of the back of an Italian peasant woman (or contandina) who is carrying a large bundle on her head. Cecilia Powell has identified the accompanying note in the bottom left-hand corner as referring to Senigallia, a town on the Adriatic Coast, just north-west of Ancona.6 She has argued that it must refer to the figure alone and not the landscape since, in another sketchbook, Turner refers to seeing ‘the first bit of Claude’, at Osimo to the south of Ancona (see Tate D14663; Turner Bequest CLXXVII 6), a later point than Senigallia on his journey to Rome. Further studies related to Senigallia can be seen on folios 2 verso and 28 verso (D13862 and D13912) and in the Venice to Ancona sketchbook (Tate D14610–D14611; Turner Bequest CLXXVI 63a–64). A similar reference to Lord Egremont’s Claude, meanwhile, can be found within a sketch of Frascati in the Albano, Nemi, Rome sketchbook (Tate D15347; Turner Bequest CLXXXII 28).

Nicola Moorby
March 2010

Reproduced Christopher Rowell, Ian Warrell and David Blayney Brown, Turner at Petworth, London 2002, fig.66, p.70.
Powell 1984, p.94.

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