The inscription on this page represents a suggested itinerary for travelling to and within Italy in preparation for Turner’s first Italian tour of 1819. The author is James Hakewill (1778–1843), with whom Turner collaborated on the engraved print project, Picturesque Tour of Italy, published 1820 (see the introduction to the sketchbook). The text was first transcribed by Finberg,1 and is repeated here with minor variations:
Route – | Through the Jura Mountains | to Geneva. From Geneva | cross the Simplon to Domo | d’Ossola cross the Lago Maggiore to Varese and the town of | Como. Go up the lake ^to Cadenabbia^ & return. | From Como to Milan. From | Milan to Genoa (if not thought | worth while to go to Turin, which | if time presses is not recommended)
Hakewill had undertaken a tour of Italy in 1816–17 and the route which he outlines here is naturally the same one he had followed then.2 Despite his recommendations however, Turner ultimately chose a different course, entering Italy via the Pass of Mont Cenis, and travelling to Rome via Venice and the Adriatic coast, instead of Genoa. He did, however, make an unusual detour back into the Alps from the Italian Lakes in order to see the newly built Simplon Pass,3 possibly inspired by Hakewill’s description of the descent into the Vale of Domodossola, see folio 3 (D13863).
Turner has also used the horizontal width of the page to make pencil notes and a sketch of a figure over the top of Hakewill’s writing. The inscription starts ‘Boy or [...]’ but is then too rubbed or faded to decipher.
Finberg 1909, p.499.
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, pp.10–11.
This has been by confirmed by Federico Crimi, ‘Turner e il Verbano. Sulle vedute del Porta di Arona e dell’Isola Bella’, Verbanus, no.27, 2006, pp.177–202.