Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches from the Simplon Pass Road, Including the Chapel at Gabi

1819

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 121 × 195 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D16890
Turner Bequest CXCIV 1

Catalogue entry

Turner has divided this page into five or six individual sketches featuring views from the road through the Simplon Pass (see the sketchbook introduction). Many are too faint or schematic to be conclusively identified. However, the study of the small building and bridge near the top left-hand corner of the sheet represents the chapel of the Virgin Mary at Gabi (present-day Gabi/Gstein), a small village at the western end of the narrow Gondo Gorge (Gondoschlucht).
The artist has annotated the sketch in the top right-hand corner with the notes ‘Fir destroy[ed] by an Avalanche’. The details are reminiscent of his earlier dramatic oil painting, The Fall of an Avalanche in the Grisons exhibited 1810 (Tate, N00489).1

Nicola Moorby
April 2010

1
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, no.109.

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