Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Castello Estense, Ferrara

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 111 × 184 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D40895

Catalogue entry

With the page turned vertically, Turner has made two rapid drawings showing imposing buildings above bridges. The larger shows the clustered, machicolated towers of Ferrara’s moated medieval Castello Estense, and although the drawing is slight, there is enough detail to establish this view as showing the north-west corner of the complex. The second shows the same aspect from further off along what is now Vile Cavour. The bridge in the foreground, which does not survive, is shown in a nineteenth-century painting by Giuseppe Migliari (1822–1897) and Celestino Tommasi (1796–1868).1
These are Turner’s only identified views of Ferrara. For the city in relation to Turner’s route south-east between Bologna and Ancona, see the sketchbook’s Introduction.
Aligned with the sketchbook’s foliation, and slightly overlapping with both drawings, are the inscriptions of the Executors of the Turner Bequest, Henry Scott Trimmer, Charles Turner, John Prescott Knight and Charles Lock Eastlake, in ink ‘No 318 Contains 83 Leaves in Pencil | mostly on both sides – | H.S. Trimmer | C Turner’, and in pencil ‘4 Out | JPK’ and ‘C.L.E.’ The ‘4 Out’ appears to be in Knight’s hand, and presumably refers to four leaves being detached at that stage, which would equate to the ‘four leaves ... found loose’ later noted by Finberg,2 which have since been bound back in (see the technical notes in the sketchbook’s Introduction).

Matthew Imms
March 2017

1
Reproduced at ‘Castello Estense di Ferrara’, Instituto Italiano dei Castelli, accessed 13 December 2016, http://www.istitutoitalianocastelli.it/risorse/il-castello-del-mese/castello-estense-di-ferrara.html.
2
Finberg 1909, I, p.516.

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