Joseph Mallord William Turner

Village of Simplon, near the Simplon Pass

1819

Not on display

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 121 × 195 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D16891
Turner Bequest CXCIV 1 a

Catalogue entry

The subject of this sketch is the village of Simplon (Simplon-dorf), which lies within a valley approximately nine miles south of the Simplon pass in Switzerland. Turner’s view is taken from the road to the north-west, representing the return leg of the journey back to Italy.1 To the left of the village is the small eighteenth-century Church of St Gotthard and rising in the distance beyond are steep mountain peaks which the artist has noted are covered in snow. The composition recalls the conventional approach for nineteenth-century vedute artists,2 and a similar vista can be found on the inside front cover of the sketchbook (D40959).

Nicola Moorby
April 2011

1
Not as Federico Crimi has previously suggested from the east, see Crimi 2007, p.33 note 42.
2
See for example, Gabriel Lory’s print, Vue du Village de Simplon, from Voyage Pittoresque de Genè à Milan par le Simplon circa 1811, reproduced at http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/search_object_image.aspx?currentpage=1&toadbc=ad&objectid=3295989&asset_id=844682&images=on&orig=%2fresearch%2fsearch_the_collection_database.aspx&partid=1&searchtext=simplon&fromadbc=ad&numpages=10, and Major James Cockburn, Village of the Simplon, from Views to Illustrate the Route of the Simplon, London 1822, pl.XXII. For views by other artists see also Crimi 2007, p.33 note 42.

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