Joseph Mallord William Turner

Three Sketches of Lugano; and a Study of a Tobacco Plant


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 72

Catalogue entry

This page contains a number of sketches drawn with the sheet placed both vertically and horizontally. Three, drawn with the sketchbook held horizontally, are all variant studies of Lugano, a city on the shores of Lake Lugano which lies within the Swiss canton (state) of Ticino. Turner travelled to Lugano by boat from Porlezza,1 and the uppermost vista shows the approach from the waters of the lake to the east. The second sketch meanwhile depicts the outlines of some of the city’s most noteworthy buildings, including in the centre, the campanile of the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. Finally, at the bottom is a view of Lugano from the ‘Landing Place’ where Turner must have disembarked from the boat. The vista looks north-east across the shore line with the cathedral just left of centre. Part of the composition spills over onto the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 72 verso (D14283; Turner Bequest CLXXIV 71a).
Additionally there are three distinct studies on the left-hand side of the sheet, drawn with the sketchbook held vertically. In the top right-hand corner is a small study of a tobacco plant, which the artist has noted has ‘red flowers’. The remaining two sketches are studies of landscape, although the location currently remains unidentified.

Nicola Moorby
January 2013

See Crimi 2007, pp.30–1.

Read full Catalogue entry


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