Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches of Two Paintings by Claude from the Barberini and Sciarra Collections, Rome


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Support: 115 × 94 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXCIII 80

Catalogue entry

The two sketches on this page were identified by Jerrold Ziff as copies of paintings by Claude Lorrain (circa 1604/5–1682), the seventeenth-century French landscapist who was the artist Turner most admired.1 Both pictures were seen in Rome.
The upper study represents Pastoral Landscape with Castel Gandolfo, 1639 (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge), formerly in the Palazzo Barberini.2 Turner accompanied his schematic copy with detailed notes describing the painting’s colouring and effects, see folios 97 and 96 (Tate D16870 and D16868; Turner Bequest CXCIII 96 and 95), and this close attention to the picture has been seen to have influenced the composition and colouring of his later watercolour,3 Lake Albano 1828 (private collection).4 For example, the figure annotated as ‘Blue’ in the right-hand foreground of Claude’s landscape is matched by the blue skirt of the contandina found in a corresponding position in Turner’s watercolour.5 For a fuller discussion see folio 97 (D16870; Turner Bequest CXCIII 96).
The lower sketch, meanwhile, depicts Landscape with the Port of Santa Marinella circa 1639–1640 (Petit Palais, Paris), formerly in the collection of Prince Maffeo Barberini Colonna di Sciarra.6 Turner wrote a short note relating to the work on folio 95 (D16866; Turner Bequest CXCIII 94) in which he identified it as the ‘Chara Claude’. Ian Warrell has discussed how the artist later echoed the compositional structure of the tower, trees and curving bay within his own pictorial variations, for example a pencil study for a picture in the King’s Visit to Scotland sketchbook, circa 1819–21 (Tate D17666; Turner Bequest CC 89), and an oil study of a French scene (Tate, N02992).7
Claude was the artist most consistently in Turner’s thoughts during his Italian travels and his name is frequently invoked within on-the-spot landscape sketches. Turner was clearly making a direct comparison between the French painter’s pictorial vision of Italy and his own experience of it.8 He was also keen to view at first-hand as much of the seventeenth-century master’s work as possible. In addition to the two pictures from the Barberini and Sciarra collections, he also sketched paintings in the Palazzo Doria-Pamphili and the Palazzo Pallavicini-Rospigliosi, Rome, see folios 81 verso–82 (D16849–D16850; Turner Bequest CXCIII 80a–81), as well as in the Uffizi, Florence (see Rome and Florence sketchbook, Tate D16585; Turner Bequest CXCI 60). Powell has discussed how his division of pages in the Remarks (Italy) sketchbook resembles that of his earlier copies of Claude’s works in the Fonthill sketchbook, 1804 (see Tate D41265; Turner Bequest XLVII 19a).9

Claude conceived Pastoral Landscape with Castel Gandolfo and Landscape with the Port of Santa Marinella as a pair and their unusual octagonal format may have influenced Turner’s use of a similar shape for his later pendants, Peace – Burial at Sea exhibited 1842 (Tate, N00528), and War. The Exile and the Rock Limpet exhibited 1842 (Tate, N00529).10

Nicola Moorby
March 2011

See Ziff 1965, p.62.
Reproduced Powell 1987, p.129, fig.136 and Warrell 2002, p.197 no.46.
See Powell 1984, pp.262–3, Powell 1984, pp.23–4, and Powell 1987, p.127.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, no.731; see Powell 1984, pp.262–3, Powell 1984, pp.23–4, Powell 1987, p.127 and Warrell 2002, p.197 no.79.
Powell 1987, p.127.
Reproduced Warrell 2002, p.109, ill.47.
See Warrell 2002, pp.193 under no.50, 194 no.54, reproduced, and 195 no.64, reproduced.
See Powell 1987, pp.[67]–8.
Powell 1984, p.160.
See Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.248 under no.399.

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