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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Narni, from the Gorge to the North, with the Bridge of Augustus 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 65 Verso:
Narni, from the Gorge to the North, with the Bridge of Augustus 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXVII 65 a
Pencil on white wove paper, 186 x 110 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner devoted a considerable number of sketches to the Bridge of Augustus (Ponte d’Augusto) at Narni, one of the most famous landmarks in Umbria, see folio 61 verso (D14772). This page contains two drawings executed with the sketchbook held vertically like a notebook. Both landscapes are taken from the same viewpoint in the gorge to the north of the town, but looking in different directions. The lower sketch depicts the view looking west with Narni at the top of the slopes on the left and the monastery of San Cassiano above on the right. The upper sketch meanwhile shows the view looking east towards the Bridge of Augustus, with the town perched above on the right. This angle was the preferred composition chosen by the French painter, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796–1875) for his celebrated outdoor studies of the bridge, executed during a sketching tour in 1826. In paintings such as The Augustan bridge at Narni, oil on paper (Louvre, Paris), Corot sought to synthesise the authenticity and spontaneity of en plein-air painting with the academic principles of the classical landscape tradition of Claude Lorrain and Poussin.1
Also on this page is part of a horizontal landscape drawing of trees by the banks of the River Nera. This sketch continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 66 (D14781).

Nicola Moorby
November 2008

Peter Galassi, Corot in Italy: Open-Air Painting and the Classical Landscape Tradition, New Haven and London 1991, p.170, reproduced in colour fig.200, p.168.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Narni, from the Gorge to the North, with the Bridge of Augustus 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, November 2008, 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-narni-from-the-gorge-to-the-north-with-the-bridge-of-r1138943, accessed 17 January 2022.