Joseph Mallord William Turner

Inscriptions by Turner ?and Others: Italian Words and Phrases and English Equivalents


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 184 × 111 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXVI 86

Catalogue entry

The Turner scholar C.F. Bell annotated Finberg’s 1909 Inventory entry (‘MS. Note’): ‘Italian & English phrases’.1 Among more basic food-related vocabulary are two attempts at ‘Dove è l’Accademia di Belle Arti?’ Cecilia Powell has suggested that the second version (as well as some of the other words) is not by Turner;2 although it written in a larger and clearer hand, his writing was widely variable and it may be by him, or by a helpful local. As it is written near one end of the sketchbook outside the main sequence of topographical drawings, it is unclear which art academy it refers to. Views of Venice occupy roughly the first quarter of the book, and Bologna the second (see the Introduction), and institutions in both cities have been proposed.
Ian Warrell has favoured Venice,3 while Cecilia Powell has preferred Bologna, ‘where less English would have been understood’, pointing out that the buildings drawn east of the centre in the Via Zamboni (folio 31 recto; D14543; Turner Bequest CLXXVI 27) were in the vicinity of the city’s Accademia in the Via delle Belle Arti (sic),4 subsequently separated from the collection forming the Pinacoteca Nazionale but still sharing premises. James Hamilton has noted both possibilities.5

Matthew Imms
March 2017

Undated MS note by C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.519.
See Powell 1984, p.407.
See Warrell 2003, p.17, and Warrell 2005, p.20.
See Powell 1984, pp.83–4.
See Hamilton 2009, p.42; see also Hamilton 2008, p.44.

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