Joseph Mallord William Turner

Three Sketches of Lake Como; Including One of Argegno


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 65 a

Catalogue entry

Turner appears to have made two journeys by boat on Lake Como and this page relates to the second expedition which followed the western coast from Como in the south to Menaggio in the north.1 The sheet contains two large studies, and one much smaller sketch, of the shore seen from the waters of the lake.
The subject of the upper vista is Argegno, a village built upon an inlet on the western shore. Clearly visible is the bridge spanning the River Telo which flows into the lake. The larger sketch at the bottom of the page meanwhile looks north from near Argegno and depicts a distant view of the headland of Villa del Balbianello, in between Sala Comacino and Lenno. The composition spills over onto the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 67 (D14272; Turner Bequest CLXXIV 66). Finally, the small study in the bottom left-hand corner of the sheet represents a continuation of the landscape on folio 67 verso (D14273; Turner Bequest CLXXIV 66a). Turner has extended the length of the latter drawing by pulling back the sheet and continuing the sketch on this underlying sheet.
For further sketches of Lake Como see folio 48 (D14234; Turner Bequest CLXXIV 47).

Nicola Moorby
January 2013

See Federico Crimi, ‘J.M.W. Turner e il Verbano: 1819: Torino, Milano e il Sempione’, in Verbanus, no.28, 2007, p.28.

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