Joseph Mallord William Turner

Vignette Study; Moonlit view of a Continental City with a Bridge

c.1832–9

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 311 × 191 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D27615
Turner Bequest CCLXXX 98

Catalogue entry

Turner painted a number of small landscape studies which appear to be views of Continental locations. Although the rounded and borderless format suggests that they were designed as vignettes, they have not yet been securely identified with any of Turner’s illustration projects. There are a number of such watercolours in the Turner Bequest (see Tate D27540; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 23). In light of watermarks found on two sheets within the group, this study has been dated circa 1832–9.
This unfinished study shows a moonlit view of a Continental city. A high white moon dominates the scene which is executed in a cool palette of blue and purple. The composition may have been conceived as a pair with a similarly constructed view of a city at night (see Tate D27613; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 96). Both studies show a bridge in the foreground, as well as several towers on the right side of the composition and are executed on the same pinkish paper.1 The two works bear considerable stylistic similarities to Turner’s preliminary sketches for Thomas Moore’s The Epicurean (1839) and may be related to this project.
1
Piggott 1993, p.96.
Verso:
Inscribed by an unknown hand in pencil ‘CCLXXX 98’ bottom right and with an area of pink wash

Meredith Gamer
August 2006

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