Joseph Mallord William Turner

Three Sketches at Susa, Including Two Studies of the Arch of Augustus

1819

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 114 × 185 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D14048
Turner Bequest CLXXIII 36 a

Catalogue entry

This page contains three distinct drawings. Within the main (horizontal) body of the sheet there are two studies of the Arch of Augustus, a ninth-century monument erected by the Emperor Augustus to commemorate the ‘Pax Augusta’, a peace treaty with Marcus Julius Cottius, leader of the tribes of the so-called Cottian Alps (the mountainous border between France and Italy).1 The arch is located at Susa, the first city in Italy after crossing the Pass of Mont Cenis, approximately thirty miles west of Turin. A related sketch depicting the arch within a more general view of Susa can be found on folio 37 verso (D14050). Turner also mentioned it within the notes he made from the popular guidebook, A Classical Tour Through Italy by Revd John Chetwode Eustace (see the Italian Guide Book sketchbook, Tate D13962; Turner Bequest CLXXII 16a). Further drawings dating from later European tours can also be found within other sketchbooks (see for example the Fort Bard sketchbook, 1836, Tate D29313; Turner Bequest CCXCIV 54).
The small sketch on the far left-hand side of the page, parallel with the spine, also appears to be a rough drawing of Susa. For a more detailed discussion of Turner’s arrival in Italy and the related Alpine sketches see the Introduction to the sketchbook.

Nicola Moorby
March 2013

1
See Fred S. Kleiner, A History of Roman Art, Boston 2010, pp.93–4, reproduced.

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