Joseph Mallord William Turner

Desenzano del Garda, with Sirmione and the Grottoes of Catullus beside the Lake in the Distance


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 112 × 185 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXV 21 a

Catalogue entry

Looking east over the southern end of the Lake Garda, Desenzano del Garda is in the foreground with Sirmione on the peninsula beyond; later developments make the precise viewpoint uncertain. The towns are about half way between Brescia (see under folio 19 recto; D14352) and Verona (see under folio 25 recto; D14363) on Turner’s route east. Lonato, just to the west, is shown on folio 22 recto opposite (D14357).
Another sketchbook Turner carried with him on this tour includes travel notes by James Hakewill (1778–1843), with whom he had been collaborating on the Picturesque Tour of Italy (published in 1820); see Nicola Moorby’s Introduction to the Route to Rome book (Tate; Turner Bequest CLXXI). Hakewill recalled: ‘On the Lago di Garda, a good | Inn at Desazano Desenzano’ (Tate D13897; Turner Bequest CLXXI 21).
Turner has also noted the Grottoes of Catullus, an extensive Roman villa and grotto complex north of Sirmione associated with the Veronese poet Catullus (84–54 BC).1

Matthew Imms
March 2017

See ‘Grotte di Catullo’, Grotte di Catullo, accessed 6 Fabruary 2017,

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