Joseph Mallord William Turner

Four Views from the Road between Menaggio and Porlezza; Including Two of Lake Como and Tow of the Val Menaggio


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
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 68 a

Catalogue entry

This page contains four distinct sketches, all of which were drawn on the road to Porlezza from the heights above the village of Menaggio.1 Turner took this road in order to cross from Lake Como to Lake Lugano and Federico Crimi has noted that the route was served by a regular diligence.2 Turner also made preparatory notes pertaining to the journey within the Italian Guide Book sketchbook (see Tate D13961; Turner Bequest CLXXII 16).
The uppermost vista depicts a view looking south east across Lake Como towards the peninsula of Bellagio. Turner has annotated the sketch with the position of Menaggio on the western shore. Second from the top meanwhile is a study looking across to the village of Varenna on the eastern shore. A similar view can be found on folio 69 (D14276; Turner Bequest CLXXIV 68). The position of the sun in this composition indicates that Turner was travelling in the morning.
The remaining two sketches on the sheet depict views looking in the opposite direction, west through the Val Menaggio towards Porlezza. The inscription within the third vista from the top records the subject as the tiny village of Cardano, and here the artist has also noted the incidental detail of a ‘Boy’ wearing a ‘Blue Cap’.

Nicola Moorby
January 2013

See Crimi 2007, p.28 note 33.
Federico Crimi, unpublished notes. See also Federico Crimi, ‘J.M.W. Turner e il Verbano: Repertorio’, in Verbanus, no.30, 2009, pp.37–8.

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