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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Colour Study for Hakewill’s ‘Picturesque Tour of Italy’ c.1818

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This section is comprised of the single study in the Turner Bequest known to relate directly to James Hakewill’s A Picturesque Tour of Italy (1818–20). Turner was working on the twenty finished watercolours he made for Hakewill’s project by the summer of 1818; they predate his own first tour of Italy in 1819–20. Turner’s contribution to A Picturesque Tour of Italy has been researched most extensively by Cecilia Powell, whose 1982 article on the subject in Art History,and further discussion in Turner in the South, remain key points of reference. Additionally, Ian Warrell’s discussion of the project in Turner and Venice has particular relevance for the single colour study catalogued in this section. James Hakewill (1778–1843), an architect and artist, toured Italy in 1816–17. He commissioned Turner to make watercolours based on his own drawings of Italian sites, which Hakewill had made with the assistance of a camera ...
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D32144
Turner Bequest CCCXVI 7
This section is comprised of the single study in the Turner Bequest known to relate directly to James Hakewill’s A Picturesque Tour of Italy (1818–20). Turner was working on the twenty finished watercolours he made for Hakewill’s project by the summer of 1818; they predate his own first tour of Italy in 1819–20. Turner’s contribution to A Picturesque Tour of Italy has been researched most extensively by Cecilia Powell, whose 1982 article on the subject in Art History,and further discussion in Turner in the South, remain key points of reference. Additionally, Ian Warrell’s discussion of the project in Turner and Venice has particular relevance for the single colour study catalogued in this section.
James Hakewill (1778–1843), an architect and artist, toured Italy in 1816–17. He commissioned Turner to make watercolours based on his own drawings of Italian sites, which Hakewill had made with the assistance of a camera obscura. Eighteen of Turner’s twenty watercolours for the project were engraved and published in A Picturesque Tour of Italy, which was issued in parts from 1818 and as a book in 1820. Hakewill initially employed eight artists, but the publisher, John Murray, only endorsed the commissioning of Turner.1 As such some of the views penned by Hakewill and reimagined in watercolour by Turner were previously interpreted in colour by other artists.2
Hakewill’s topographically accurate drawings of Italy formed the starting point for his publication. However, it was Turner’s interpretations in watercolour that ensured the finished engravings were emboldened with light, atmosphere and imagination. Many of the resulting prints, perhaps most dramatically the Cascade of Terni (for a Tate impression see T06013), engraved by John Landseer (1762/3–1852) after Turner’s watercolour of c. 1818 (Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery),3 were successful in bringing a sense of the drama, sites and light of Italy (as interpreted by Turner who was yet to go himself) to a British audience. Notably, Hakewill’s publication includes only one view of Venice, while Rome and Florence are represented by numerous plates.
Hakewill’s project surely contributed to Turner’s decision to finally make his first tour of Italy in the summer of 1819, a trip long delayed by the Napoleonic Wars. For more information about Turner’s 1819 tour, see Nicola Moorby’s introduction to it within the present publication. Hakewill’s influence is felt in Turner’s itinerary, which took heed of Hakewill’s advice. The Turner Bequest includes a pocket-sized notebook of Hakewill’s notes on Italy, known as the Route to Rome sketchbook (D13859–D13878; D13880–D13924; D13926; D13928–D13933; D40673–D40676; Turner Bequest CLXXI). This book is mostly comprised of Hakewill’s notes, but also includes sketches by Turner; it seems that he referred to it regularly during his travels. During his tour, Turner saw for himself the views he had interpreted in watercolour for Hakewill the previous year.
1
For the full list see Powell 1982, p.412.
2
Powell 1987, pp. 18, 201 (note 54); see also Finberg’s research scrapbooks in the Clore print room, Tate Britain.
3
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.381 no.701, reproduced.

Elizabeth Jacklin
July 2018

How to cite

Elizabeth Jacklin, ‘Colour Study for Hakewill’s ‘Picturesque Tour of Italy’ c.1818’, July 2018, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, November 2019, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/colour-study-for-hakewills-picturesque-tour-of-italy-r1195601, accessed 28 January 2020.