Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Road into Martigny from Sembrancher, the Castle of La Bâtiaz Overlooking the Rhône Valley


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite, chalk and gouache on paper
Support: 282 × 211 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXIV 16

Display caption

During the summer of 1802, following the Peace of Amiens, Turner made a brief, but arduous tour of the Alps. In this sketch, one of over ninety drawings made on buff paper, he depicts the outline of the fortified tower of La Batiaz at Martigny. By this stage on his journey, Turner had already passed the most magnificent peaks of the alpine range. His experience of this sublime scenery was apparently heightened by 'very fine Thunder Storms'. It is possible that the low clouds coming down the valley in this view were responsible for the spots of rain still visible on the paper, demonstrating the hazards of sketching in the open air.

Gallery label, September 2004

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.

Catalogue entry

For views of Martigny from this sketchbook see notes to D04494; Turner Bequest LXXIV 2.
This drawing is taken from the road to Martigny from the south, along the narrow valley of the River Drance. The wider Rhône Valley is in the distance beyond the Castle of La Bâtiaz. The sheet may have been splashed with rain, and wavy pencil marks on the road probably indicate puddles and reflections after a shower; however, white highlights suggest that the sun has come out again.
This drawing was called ‘Grenoble’ by John Ruskin and listed as such by Finberg. Either it had been wrongly labelled by Turner or Ruskin mistook the castle for the Bastille at Grenoble.
Laid down

David Blayney Brown
September 2011

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like

In the shop