Joseph Mallord William Turner

Spoleto, from near the Present-Day Ponte Garibaldi


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 40 a

Catalogue entry

The picturesque Umbrian town of Spoleto lies thirteen miles from Foligno, approximately half-way on the nineteenth-century route between Ancona and Rome. This sketch, continued on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 41 (D14731), represents a panoramic view of the skyline from the natural point of entry into the north of the town; the intersection of the Via Flaminia and the River Tessino, near present-day Ponte Garibaldi. The composition virtually repeats the view on folios 38a–39 (D14727–28) and folio 42 (D14734), but in this instance the detail of the buildings is rather more fully and carefully delineated. On the left is the medieval church and monastery of San Ponziano whilst the three arches in the foreground belong to the Roman remains of the Ponte Sanguinario. To the right is the Cathedral, the Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta, whilst dominating the scene on the slopes above is the fourteenth-century castle, the Rocca Albornoziana.
In the bottom left-hand corner, Turner has roughly drawn a female figure, annotating the sketch with notes relating to her costume (see the inscription above). The colourful dress of the native contadine, or Italian peasant women, frequently caught his eye. A whole sheet of studies can be found on folio 44 verso (D14739).

Nicola Moorby
November 2008

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like