Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Medieval Bridge at Narni

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 110 x 186 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D14784
Turner Bequest CLXXVII 67 a

Catalogue entry

Turner devoted a considerable number of sketches to the Roman Bridge of Augustus (Ponte d’Augusto) at Narni, one of the most famous landmarks in Umbria, see folio 61 verso (D14772). This view however is entirely devoted to the medieval bridge at Narni with its high gate tower. The structure was built to provide an alternative crossing of the River Nera when the Roman bridge collapsed. It was destroyed by Allied bombing during the Second World War. The composition of Turner’s drawing recalls an engraving of the same subject from John ‘Warwick’ Smith’s Select Views in Italy. Turner had made a small pen-and-ink copy of this illustration in the Italian Guide Book sketchbook (see Tate D13964; Turner Bequest CLXXII 18, second from bottom left).

Nicola Moorby
November 2008

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