Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Two Views of Loreto


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 110 × 186 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXVII 5 a

Catalogue entry

After a sustained period of travel along the east coast from Rimini, Turner’s route towards Rome turned inland at Ancona and began to follow a south-westerly course towards the Apennine Mountains. Many of the urban settlements in this part of Italy were built upon high ground and Turner made a number of sketches of the hilltop towns and cities he glimpsed as he travelled through the landscape of the Marche region of Italy. The order of these drawings within the beginning of this sketchbook does not appear to follow a strict geographical sequence.
The subject of these two sketches has not been conclusively identified, although Turner’s inscription ‘Lor’ indicates that they may represent distant views of the town of Loreto. The right-hand side of the larger drawing appears to show the horizon of the Adriatic Sea. The low position of the sun with the light reflected on the water below suggests that Turner is sketching early in the morning with the sun rising in the east.
Cecilia Powell has suggested that the sketch in the bottom right-hand corner of the page depicts the dome and campanile of the Santuario di Campocavallo, a large church which lies a couple of miles south-east of Osimo.1 This is in fact impossible since the building dates from 1892–1905. It is likely instead that this is a distant view of the basilica of the Santuario della Santa Casa at Loreto, see folio 13 (D14677).

Nicola Moorby
November 2008

Powell 1984, p.407.

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