Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches of Trevi, Pissignano and the Temple of Clitumnus


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 110 × 186 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXVII 36

Catalogue entry

One of the most celebrated ancient monuments to be found outside of Rome was the Temple of Clitumnus (Tempietto sul Clitunno), a small structure, located on the road between Foligno and Spoleto in Umbria, dedicated to the eponymous river. This page contains several sketches related to the approach towards the temple from the north.
The sketch in the top left-hand corner is a distant prospect of Trevi, a town on the crest of a hill, approximately six miles south-east of Foligno. The highest point visible is the campanile of the Cathedral of Sant’Emiliano. Beyond Trevi, the next landmark spotted by the nineteenth-century traveller on the Via Flaminia was Pissignano, a medieval fortress built on the slopes above the Temple of Clitumnus. Even in Turner’s day, the eleventh-century castle was a collection of crumbling remains including one very tall tower and a shorter polygonal one, which later became the bell-tower of the Church of San Benedetto. Turner has drawn the view from the north twice, outlining the towers and walls of the ruins and inscribed the place name as ‘Pissegnio’, a phonetic attempt at spelling the unfamiliar Italian word. Beneath the fortress on the right is the Temple of Clitumnus, the triangular portico and columns of which the artist has also sketched in the top right-hand corner. A similar view can be found on folio 36 verso (D14723). For a general discussion of the Temple of Clitumnus see folio 37 verso (D14725). Further sketches of Trevi dating from Turner’s return journey from Rome can be found in the Rome and Florence sketchbook (see Tate D16533; Turner Bequest CXCI 26).
In the bottom left-hand corner is part of a sketch of a landscape at Foligno which has spilled over from the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 35 verso (D14721).

Nicola Moorby
November 2008

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