Joseph Mallord William Turner

Distant View of Bellaggio, Lake Como

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 111 × 186 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D14275
Turner Bequest CLXXIV 67 a

Catalogue entry

The subject of this sketch is a distant view of Bellagio, one of the most significant and picturesque locations on Lake Como. Located at the tip of the lake’s ‘Y’ shaped intersection the town lies across a promontory which is visible here as a dark shaded outline, just left of centre. Turner’s viewpoint appears to be the eastern shore of the western branch of the lake, looking north towards Bellagio with the Alps beyond. A couple of boats are moored at the water’s edge in the foreground and the artist has included a number of figures grouped along the quayside. Importantly, the pencil drawing formed the basis for two studies in watercolour found within the Como and Venice sketchbook (see Tate D15251 and D15252; Turner Bequest CLXXXI 1 and 2). For further sketches and a general discussion of Lake Como see folio 48 (D14234; Turner Bequest CLXXIV 47).
This view of Bellaggio was selected by Ralph Nicholson Wornum for the Second Loan Collection, a group of sixty-two works exhibited in the provinces during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.1 It was removed from the sketchbook and displayed within a mount. Consequently, like the other works included in those tours, the page has suffered badly from over-exposure to light and the paper has yellowed considerably.

Nicola Moorby
January 2013

1
Warrell 1991, p.45.

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