Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Piazza Maggiore and Fontana della Fortuna, Fano


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 111 × 184 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXVI 58 a

Catalogue entry

The Turner scholar C.F. Bell annotated Finberg’s tentative 1909 Inventory entry (‘Piazza with fountain. Probably at Fano’), crossing out ‘Probably’ and adding ‘certainly’;1 Cecilia Powell has confirmed the subject as the town’s Piazza Maggiore with its Fontana della Fortuna,2 one of several ‘ebullient fountains’ he recorded in this sketchbook.3
The view is north from the south-western end of the square. The Palazzo del Podesta, with its campanile and arcade, has seen substantial reconstruction, with the tower now plainer and more massive, and lacking a spire. The fountain’s bronze figure of Fortuna stands on a globe supported by dolphins, with a lion reclining at each corner below. The flowing veil or drapery which Turner shows to the left of the figure in the main view and in the enlarged detail of the nude figure above now appears to its right, and has presumably been altered.
There are further views around the town on folios 63 recto–65 recto (D14603–D14606; Turner Bequest CLXXVI 59–61). Because of this relatively detailed treatment, James Hamilton has suggested that Turner spent a night here.4 For Powell’s comments on the relatively uneventful phase of his journey between leaving Rimini and reaching Ancona (folios 61 recto–69 recto; D14599–D14613; Turner Bequest CLXXVI 57–65), see under D14599.5

Matthew Imms
March 2017

Undated MS note by C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.518.
See Powell 1984, p.407.
Ibid., p.83.
See Hamilton 2009, p.42; see also Hamilton 2008, p.44.
See Powell 1984, pp.92, 466 note 108.

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like

In the shop