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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Aosta: The Arch of Augustus, Looking South to Mount Emilius 1802

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Aosta: The Arch of Augustus, Looking South to Mount Emilius 1802
Turner Bequest LXXIV 10
Pencil, black chalk and white gouache on greyish-buff laid paper, 212 x 283 mm
Stamped in black ‘LXXIV 10’ bottom right
Blind-stamped with the Turner bequest monogram bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
For Turner’s visit to Aosta in 1802 see Introduction to the sketchbook, and notes to D04501; Turner Bequest LXXIV 9.
Turner’s label for this drawing does not seem to have survived but its wording, ‘le Arc de Triumph, Ville de Aoust’, was preserved by John Ruskin. The drawing is one of two of the Arch of Augustus from this sketchbook, the other being a frontal view (D04501; Turner Bequest LXXIV 9). Here, Turner looks past the Roman arch towards the wooded slopes at the foot of Mount Emilius to the south of the city. The building on the right, with tiled roof and sun blinds, appears in both drawings. Together with a more panoramic view of the city from near the Cimitero Storico di Sant’Orso, also from this sketchbook (D05403; Turner Bequest LXXIV 11), the present drawing must have helped to inform the watercolour vignette of Aosta that Turner made for Samuel Roger’s s poem Italy (1830), where it was engraved by Henry le Keux; the watercolour is Tate D27662; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 145. In the vignette, Turner added walls to each side of the Arch of Augustus. However, the 1802 drawings must have confirmed his memory that the capitals of the arch were Corinthian, not Doric as rendered in early proofs of the print. In notes on the second of these, Turner corrected the error.1
In his 1992 book, David Hill compares this drawing with a photograph of his own, taken from the same position.2
Eric M. Lee, Translations: Turner and Printmaking, exhibition catalogue, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven 1993, p.8.
Hill 1992, p.82 reproduced in colour.
Blank, inscribed perhaps by a later hand in pencil ‘6’

David Blayney Brown
September 2011

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Aosta: The Arch of Augustus, Looking South to Mount Emilius 1802 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, September 2011, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, August 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-aosta-the-arch-of-augustus-looking-south-to-mount-emilius-r1146373, accessed 23 June 2024.