Joseph Mallord William Turner

Four Sketches of Lake Piano, from the Road Between Menaggio and Porlezza


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 186 × 111 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXIV 69

Catalogue entry

Turner crossed from Lake Como to Lake Lugano via the road between Menaggio and Porlezza, a route served by diligence which took him through the Val Menaggio (also sometimes known as the valley of Porlezza) and past the Lago di Piano (Lake Piano). This journey was part of an expedition traditionally known as the ‘Giro dei tre Lagio’ (Tour of the Three Lakes).1 Turner would have been familiar with the route through his acquaintance with James Hakewill,2 and he also made relevant preparatory notes from Eustace’s A Classical Tour Through Italy, within the Italian Guide Book sketchbook (see Tate D13961; Turner Bequest CLXXII 16).
This page contains four distinct sketches, all of which were drawn from the road between Menaggio and Porlezza. They all appear to depict variant views of Lake Piano and the vista looking west towards distant Lake Lugano. Further related studies can be found on folio 70 verso (D14279; Turner Bequest CLXXIV 69a).

Nicola Moorby
January 2013

Federico Crimi, unpublished notes. See also Federico Crimi, ‘J.M.W. Turner e il Verbano: Repertorio’, in Verbanus, no.30, 2009, pp.37–8.
See ‘View of the Lago Piano and Lago di Lugano from the Road between Menaggio and Porlezza’, 1816 (British School at Rome). See Tony Cubberley and Luke Herrmann, Twilight of the Grand Tour: A Catalogue of the drawings by James Hakewill in the British School at Rome Library, Rome 1992, no.2.14, p.130, reproduced.

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