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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Critical Notes by Turner on the Frescoes in the Villa Farnesina, Rome, and a Sketch of a Castle Amidst Mountains; Also Notes by James Hakewill on Rome 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 14 Verso:
Critical Notes by Turner on the Frescoes in the Villa Farnesina, Rome, and a Sketch of a Castle Amidst Mountains; Also Notes by James Hakewill on Rome 1819
D13884
Turner Bequest CLXXI 14 a
Black ink and pencil on white wove paper, 114 x 88 mm
Inscribed by the artist in black ink (see main catalogue entry)
Inscribed by James Hakewill in black ink (see main catalogue entry)
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This page contains an inscription by James Hakewill (1778–1843), part of his advice to Turner on travelling in Italy in preparation for the artist’s first tour of the country in 1819 (see the introduction to the sketchbook). The text, which relates to locations in Rome, was first transcribed by Finberg,1 but more correctly so by Thomas Ashby,2 and reads:
Camerere not laquis de place.
usual pay of a camerere, 9 scudi
   pr month.
Vari, in the Strada Babuino } booksellers
Monaldini, in the Piazza di Spagna } &c.
See Camuccini’s pictures and notice a | small crucifixion by Vandyke. –
‘Cameriere’ is the Italian word for waiter, whilst a ‘laquais de place’ was a local servant, often hired by travellers during a stay in a foreign country. In addition to providing Turner with the names of booksellers near the Spanish Steps, an area popular with English tourists, Hakewill also advises that he visits the pictures of Vincenzo Camuccini, (1771–1844), one of the pre-eminent academic painters in Rome at this period. Further lists of places of interest in Rome can also be found on folios 35 and 35 verso (D13924 and D13926).
In addition to Hakewill’s writing, Turner has also used the left-hand side of this page to make extensive critical notes on frescoes in the Villa Farnesina. This sixteenth-century house (now the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei), stands near the banks of the River Tiber in Rome’s Trastevere district, at the foot of the Janiculum Hill and is famous for its fresco decorations commissioned by Agostino Chigi (1466–1520). The artist’s comments relate to the parts of the villa decorated by Raphael (1483–1520) and his follower, Giulio Romano (circa 1499–1546), particularly the Loggia di Psyche and the Triumph of Galatea. The text was first fully transcribed by Cecilia Powell,3 and the inscription is repeated here with only minor variations:
P. Farnese. the story of Cupid and P. | by Raffaello and Julio Romano the | Spandels of the Graces .. Proserpina Mercury | and Jupiter and ^[?...]^Cupid [cross encircled] M + the | boy carrying a shield [dot encircled] + Galetea changed: | [?painting] of Robe of G – one of the Cupids | exquisite colored. the Juno in the recon | ciliation of the Gods Ex. in Blue. Venus | Purple but changed like the Galetea red with | shadows but not so heavy
As Powell has discussed, Turner has categorised some of the frescoes using a three-tiered shorthand system: a blank circle; a dot in a circle; and a cross in a circle.4 The respective values of each category are still unknown but the observations are evidence of Turner’s appreciation of Raphael as a colourist.5 Sketches relating to the Villa Farnesina can be found in the Italian Guide Book sketchbook (Tate D13935, D13985, D13987; Turner Bequest CLXXII 2, 28a, 29a).
Also on the page, Turner has made a small, rough pencil study of an unidentified building or castle amidst mountainous scenery.

Nicola Moorby
March 2010

1
Finberg 1909, p.496.
2
Ashby 1925, p.10.
3
Powell 1984, p.405.
4
Powell 1984, p.152 and Powell 1987, pp.65 and 203 note 4.
5
Butlin, Wilton and Gage 1974, p.92, and Butlin and Joll 1984, p.137 under no.228.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Critical Notes by Turner on the Frescoes in the Villa Farnesina, Rome, and a Sketch of a Castle Amidst Mountains; Also Notes by James Hakewill on Rome 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2010, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-critical-notes-by-turner-on-the-frescoes-in-the-villa-r1138702, accessed 27 February 2021.