Joseph Mallord William Turner

Vignette Study of Market and Piazza, ?Verona, ?for Rogers’s ‘Italy’


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 170 × 239 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXX 107

Catalogue entry

Turner probably produced this sketch of a crowded marketplace as an experimental composition for Rogers’s Italy. The location of the scene may be Verona. However, none of his finished vignettes relate to the subject depicted here. Urban genre scenes rarely appear in Italy, despite the fact that Turner did design several preliminary studies of such subjects, including Venice, Florence, and Tivoli (see Tate D27519; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 2, Tate D27612; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 95, and Tate D27605; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 88). In general, Rogers’s preference seems to have been for subjects to be modelled after classic, conventional landscape views that would already be familiar to a contemporary audience.
The watercolour was part of a parcel of vignette studies labelled by John Ruskin as ‘Studies for Italy. Coarse, but noble’.1 Finberg records how Ruskin later described his phrasing in a letter to Ralph Nicholson Wornum as ‘horrible’, adding ‘I never meant it to be permanent’.2
Finberg 1909, vol.II, p.896.
Finberg 1909, vol.I, p.xi.
Inscribed by unknown hands in pencil ‘AB 83 P’ and ‘R’ top left, inverted and ‘CCLXXX 107’ bottom right

Meredith Gamer
August 2006

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