Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Church of San Giuseppe at Luino, Lake Maggiore


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 186 × 111 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXIV 3 c

Catalogue entry

Federico Crimi has identified the subject of this sketch as the Church of San Giuseppe at Luino, a small town on the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore.1 Built in the seventeenth century, the church stands near the marketplace, at present-day Piazza Garibaldi, and has a distinctive porch topped by statues of St Giuseppe and St Dionigi. Turner’s sketch looks north-east across the façade of the church with the shoreline of the lake on the left. Further sketches can be seen on folios 75 and 75 verso (D14288–9; Turner Bequest CLXXIV 74–74a).
As noted by Crimi the position of this sketch near the beginning of the Turin, Como, Lugarno sketchbook does not fit in with the geographical itinerary followed by Turner during his journey from Turin to Milan via the Italian Lakes.2 Crimi has suggested therefore that the study may not have been drawn on the spot, but rather that Turner may have copied the view from a print.3 A further possibility is that when the artist reached Luino, he simply used a spare, blank sheet to record the view, regardless of the disruption this presented within the logical order of the pages. Finally, yet another explanation would be that when the sketchbook was broken up during the nineteenth century,4 an error was made in numbering the leaves and the book was subsequently reassembled incorrectly. For further information about the physical order of the pages see the sketchbook introduction.

Nicola Moorby
December 2012

Crimi 2006, p.182.
Ibid., p.180 note 8.
Crimi 2007, p.23 note 18.
See Finberg 1909, p.507.

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