Joseph Mallord William Turner

Notes by James Hakewill on Travelling in Italy; and Inscriptions and a Sketch by Turner


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink on paper
Support: 88 × 114 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXI 38 a

Catalogue entry

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)
The text continues on folio 37 verso (D13931), and the content is also repeated to some extent on folios 3–6 (D13863–D13869).
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.

Nicola Moorby
March 2010

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.

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop