Joseph Mallord William Turner

Notes and Sketch Relating to Claude Lorrain’s ‘Pastoral Landscape with Castel Gandolfo’ in the Palazzo Barberini, Rome


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Support: 115 × 94 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCIII 96

Catalogue entry

This page contains a thumbnail sketch and handwritten notes concerning Claude Lorrain’s painting, Pastoral Landscape with Castel Gandolfo, 1639 (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge).1 Turner also made a rough pencil copy of the picture which he saw in the Palazzo Barberini, Rome in 1819, see folio 81 (D16848; Turner Bequest CXCIII 80). The inscription, first transcribed by Finberg,2 reads as follows:
Barberini Claude – | [thumbnail sketch of the picture] the composition is like Lake Albano | the tone generally more warm than | usually his grey pictures are but yet warm | brilliant and clear the Trees on the left | and Center dark the right tree warm | yellow leaves and brown Stem tho in light | yet darker than the Sky, like the French | academy as to Effect last night the | figures in the blue, yellow kerchief and pink | petticoat clear all and keeps the Eye to | the center the two next are green and | brown the woman playing upon the Pipe | yellow and rather bright. the foreground | a few [sketch] flower are painted very sharp the | cattle ^deer and goats^ are rich brown – the sky tame | excepting the upper part a few light clouds | which sparkle rather to the injury of the
The notes continue on folio 96 (D16868; Turner Bequest CXCIII 95), as follows:
Distance which is not as well as usual | the water indistinct and not blue | but of the color of the distance
Cecilia Powell has noted that the description bears close similarities to some of Turner’s on-the-spot notes regarding views which reminded him of Claudian landscapes, for example his long inscription detailing the countryside near Loreto in the Ancona to Rome sketchbook (Tate D40929; Turner Bequest, inside front cover).3 He readily associated the French painter’s pictorial vision with his own experience of Italy. Conversely, in this passage he links an effect prevalent within Claude’s painting, to his own observations of evening light seen in the gardens of the Villa Medici (the home of the French Academy in Rome). A sketch of the Villa Medici can be found on folio 6 (D16770; Turner Bequest CXCIII 5).

Nicola Moorby
March 2011

Reproduced Powell 1987, p.129, fig.136.
Finberg 1909, pp.575–6.
Powell 1987, pp.[31], [67].
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, no.731; see Powell 1984, pp.262–3, Powell 1984, pp.23–4, Powell 1987, p.127.
Powell 1987, p.127.
Wallace 1979, p.113; see also Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.248 under no.399.

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop