Joseph Mallord William Turner

Genoa Harbour with Shipping and the Lighthouse


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Chalk and graphite on paper
Support: 142 × 193 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXLI 39

Catalogue entry

The subject of this drawing, Tate D33719 and D33720 (Turner Bequest CCCXLI 40, 41) is the same, as Finberg noted;1 see also Tate D33755, D33800, D33812 and D33813 (Turner Bequest CCCXLI 74, 118v, 130, 130v). They have a distinctive slender, two-stage lighthouse in common, and of Ancona or Genoa, Finberg’s two suggestions,2 the setting appears to be the latter, on the Italian Mediterranean coast, which Turner first recorded on his route to Rome in 1828. There are drawings in the Coast of Genoa sketchbook, including Tate D21306, D21309, D21311, D21321 and D21322 (Turner Bequest CCXXXII 24, 25a, 26a, 31a, 32), and the Genoa and Florence sketchbook (Tate D21436, D21438, D21441, D21443; Turner Bequest CCXXXIII 13, 14, 15a, 16a).
Compare the harbour view in gouache on grey paper of similar size from about that time at Tate (D24778; Turner Bequest CCLIX 213), and others in and around Genoa at Tate (D24777; Turner Bequest CCLIX 212), the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford,3 currently untraced,4 and in a private collection.5 Although also traditionally dated to about 1828, the latter may be from the late 1830s, when Turner sketched Genoa again, possibly in 1837, in the Genoa to Grenoble sketchbook; see for example Tate D29379 and D29380 (Turner Bequest CCXCV 1, 1a). Meanwhile he produced a vignette watercolour of the harbour (Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts),6 engraved in 1833 for the works of Byron (Tate impressions: T06187, T06188), and there is also a late watercolour looking from inland (Manchester Art Gallery).7
See Finberg 1909, II, p.1066.
Ibid.; see also undated MS note ‘Genoa’ by Finberg (died 1939) in interleaved copy in Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, opposite p.1066.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.420 no.1015, reproduced.
Ibid., no.1016, reproduced.
Ibid., no.1017, reproduced.
Ibid., p.447 no.1231.
Ibid., p.488 no.1569, pl.259.
Technical notes:
There is a small dark brown stain at the bottom right corner.
Blank; inscribed by John Ruskin in pencil ‘234 | O’ bottom right.

Matthew Imms
February 2016

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