J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Colour Studies of Idealised Italianate Landscapes c.1817–30

Turner Bequest CXCVI U, CXCVII A, CCLXIII 18, 45, 46, 53, 75, 86, 153, 179, 180, 189, 211, 323, 325, CCCLXV 29
This subsection comprises loosely worked ‘colour beginnings’1 of landscapes characterised by glowing sunlit hues, often offset by dark trees to the left or right; some can be related or compared to completed designs of Italian scenes in oil and watercolour. At least one (Tate D17191; Turner Bequest CXCVII A) predates Turner’s first tour of Italy in 1819–20, while others are from around the time of his second extended visit, in 1828–9.2 Tate D36320 (Turner Bequest CCCLXV 29) relates to a depiction of a British landscape garden setting designed with consciously Italianate elements.
In his 1909 Turner Bequest Inventory,3 apart from those to which he gave simple descriptions or linked to particular places or compositions, Finberg called some of the landscapes included here ‘Italian’ (Tate D25175, D25311, D25333 (CCLXIII 53, 189, 211) and others generically ‘classical’ (Tate D25167, D25275, D25302; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 45, 153, 180). The wording of Eric Shanes’s ‘Ideal (Italianate) Landscapes’ category, including several of the works covered here,4 has been taken into account in devising new titles.
See Eric Shanes, ‘Beginnings’ in Joll, Butlin and Herrmann 2001, pp.21–3; among many other accounts, see also Andrew Wilton in Martin Butlin, Wilton and John Gage, Turner 1775–1851, exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy, London 1974, p.26; and Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.187.
For a general outline of the significance of these visits and Italian themes, see Cecelia Powell, ‘Italy’ in Joll, Butlin and Herrmann2001, pp.150–2; see also James Hamilton, Nicola Moorby, Christopher Baker and others, Turner & Italy, exhibition catalogue, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh 2009.
A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909.
Eric Shanes, Turner’s Watercolour Explorations 1810–1842, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997, p.98.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

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How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Colour Studies of Idealised Italianate Landscapes c.1817–30’, subset, September 2016, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, March 2017, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/colour-studies-of-idealised-italianate-landscapes-r1185705, accessed 28 May 2024.