Joseph Mallord William Turner

Views on the Road between Narni and Borghetto, including Otricoli, Ocriculum and the Ponte Felice


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 71 a

Catalogue entry

Beyond Narni, Turner’s route to Rome continued south towards the next two post stages, Otricoli and Borghetto, where the Via Flaminia crossed the River Tiber at the Ponte Felice.1 The artist made a number of swift sketches between Narni and Borghetto. The likely chronological sequence of these views within the sketchbook is folio 71 verso (D14792), 71 (D14791) and 70 verso (D14790).
This page contains several sketches drawn with the sketchbook held vertically like a notebook. Each scene depicts a different point on the road after Narni, with the first view at the top and the last, closest to Borghetto, at the bottom. The shaky and uncertain nature of Turner’s lines suggests they were probably drawn from the moving carriage. The locations represented here are, from top to bottom: a distant view from the south of the small hill town of Otricoli with the River Tiber winding across the plain to the left; a ruined Roman tomb at Ocriculum, an ancient Roman settlement south-east of Otricoli;2 the remains of a medieval castle, the Castello Formiche; a distant view of Borghetto and a thumbnail sketch of a distant mountain; the ruined fortress at Borghetto; and the Ponte Felice with Borghetto beyond.
At the bottom of the page, near the spine of the sketchbook are two further sketches, part of two horizontal landscape views from the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 72 (D14793).

Nicola Moorby
November 2008

The post stage itinerary was published in Reichard’s Italy, London 1818, pp.301 and 330. See Turner’s own copy (Tate, Turner Bequest CCCLXVII).
The tomb can still be seen today, standing in a vineyard to the right of the southward bound Via Flaminia.

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