Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Superga, Turin, from the River Po


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 111 × 186 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXIV 36

Catalogue entry

The Superga of Turin is an eighteenth-century basilica church which stands on a hill of the same name to the east of the city. It has long been an attraction for tourists, not least because of the exceptional panoramic view seen from the square in front of the church, looking across Turin to the Alps beyond. Indeed, prior to embarking upon his 1819 Italian tour, Turner made a watercolour of this very view based upon a drawing by James Hakewill (1778–1843), his collaborator for Hakewill’s Picturesque Views of Italy.1 Turner’s sketch here depicts the distant Superga from the banks of the River Po to the west. An alternative view can be found on folio 23 verso (D14189; Turner Bequest CLXXIV 22a). Surprisingly, however, there is no visual evidence to suggest that Turner actually visited the Superga himself.

Nicola Moorby
December 2012

Turin from the Portico of the Superga Church, 1818, watercolour on paper (private collection). See Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, no.717. See also Tony Cubberley and Luke Herrmann, Twilight of the Grand Tour: A Catalogue of the drawings by James Hakewill in the British School at Rome Library, Rome 1992, no.2.17, p.133.

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