Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ruins in the Apennine Mountains near Campolarzo, probably the Rocca di Varano


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 111 × 185 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXVII 25

Catalogue entry

After passing the village of Belforte del Chienti, see folio 23 verso (D14698), the road to Rome enters the Apennines and winds its way through ever more dramatic scenery with the mountains rising to great heights on either side. John Chetwode Eustace described the terrain in A Classical Tour Through Italy:
The grandeur of the scenery increased as we advanced; beyond the stage Valcimarra, the mountains are naked rocky and wild for some miles; on a sudden they assume a milder aspect, sink in height, clothe their sides with sylvan scenery, and present on their wooded summits, churches castles and ruins, the usual ornaments of Italian mountains.1
Amongst the ruined ‘ornaments’ which Turner might have spotted from the road were the remains of the Abatia Sancti Benedicti de crypta Saxi Latronis, a Benedictine Abbey on the slopes above Valcimarra, and the Rocca Varano, a decaying fortress perched on the summit of a steep peak near Camerino. This sketch probably depicts the latter seen from near Campolarzo. See also folios 25 verso (D14702), 26 (D14703) and 26 verso (D14704).

Nicola Moorby
November 2008

John Chetwode Eustace, A Classical Tour Through Italy, London 1815, vol.I, p.308.

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