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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Architectural Details of Milan Cathedral; the Campanile of San Gottardo, Milan 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 6 Verso:
Architectural Details of Milan Cathedral; the Campanile of San Gottardo, Milan 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXV 6a
Pencil on white wove paper, 112 x 185 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘Egg [...]’ centre left, and notes including ‘[... | ... a Mace]’, ‘[?Job] | D[... ?at the | corner]’, ‘Ex[...]’ and ‘Mariae | Nacenti’ top centre and right, annotating various motifs
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Without elaborating further, the Turner scholar C.F. Bell annotated Finberg’s 1909 Inventory entry (‘Spires, cornices, and other architectural details of Milan Cathedral’): ‘Etc’.1 Federico Crimi and Ian Warrell have identified the upper stages of the campanile of the church of San Gottardo2 at the top left, south-west of the centre of the city near the Porta Ticinese (see folios 8 recto and 9 recto; D14338, D14340).
There is a detail of a classical façade towards the top left; otherwise the details are largely if not all taken from Milan Cathedral, including the spiralling tracery of the topmost window on the west front at the left, near what appears to be an attempt at the similar tracery of one of the lower windows. At the centre is a study of the pedimented surround of one of the four windows over the outer doorways, with the even more elaborate surround of the central doorway towards the bottom right. At the bottom centre are details of the filigree tracery decorating the gable, and at the right presumably one of the ten multi-stage stone pinnacles on the west front itself, which are very similar in form to the many running the whole length of the roof.
At the top right are some of the high-relief narrative panels decorating the spaces flanking the five doorways. ‘Mariae | Na[s]centi’ records the inscription in capitals on a plaque over the window above the central doorway, signifying the cathedral’s dedication to St Mary of the Nativity (Santa Maria Nascente).
See under folio 2 recto (D14328), an overall view of the west front of the cathedral, for other Milan views.

Matthew Imms
March 2017

Undated MS note by C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.512.
See Crimi 2007, p.39 note 56, and undated note by Warrell in Tate catalogue files.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Architectural Details of Milan Cathedral; the Campanile of San Gottardo, Milan 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2017, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, July 2017, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-architectural-details-of-milan-cathedral-the-campanile-of-r1186449, accessed 24 May 2024.