Turner’s viewpoint for this sketch looking towards the centre of Florence appears to be the grounds of the Church of San Miniato al Monte on the Monte alle Croci hill to the south-east of the city. Dominating the centre of the composition is the nearby Church of San Salvatore al Monte, whilst visible in the distance to the left are the Ponte alle Grazie, the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio and the Duomo. The hill was celebrated as the best location for panoramic views of the city. Turner had painted a related vista for James Hakewill’s Picturesque Tour of Italy, 1820,1 and later produced a sequence of watercolours entitled Florence, from San Miniato.2 For further discussion and related sketches see folio 64 verso (D16594).
Florence from the Chiesa al Monte circa 1818 (private collection), Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, no.714. See also the engraving by George Cooke (Tate T06027).
The four versions are: currently untraced (Wilton 726); in the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry (Wilton no.727); the British Museum (Wilton no.728), reproduced in Powell 1987, colour pl.17; and private collection (Wilton no.729). There is also a related colour beginning (see Tate D25138; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 16).
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