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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Notes by Turner from Eustace's 'A Classical Tour Through Italy' c.1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 4 Recto:
Notes by Turner from Eustace’s ‘A Classical Tour Through Italy’ circa 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXII 4
Inscribed by the artist in black ink and pencil (see main catalogue entry) on white wove paper, 155 x 99 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘4’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CLXXII 4’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This page is the first of several sides of extensive notes made by Turner from A Classical Tour Through Italy by Revd John Chetwode Eustace. The source was first identified by Cecilia Powell, who also transcribed Turner’s notes in full in the Appendix of her 1984 PhD thesis, ‘Turner on Classic Ground: His Visits to Central and Southern Italy and Related Paintings and Drawings’.1 The inscription, in black ink, is repeated here with only minor variations from her text:
Parma. 2 Stages to Reggio the cathedral | Church of St Prospero Augustin friars and Town House | 2 Stages to Modena the ducal Palace contains | some Pictures – | Modena to Bologna 3 S .•. 24 Miles Via Emilia | 6 Miles from Modena. Fort Urbano St Petronius | St Salvador S Paulo. La Madonna di S Luca | 2 Towrs of brick Degli Asinella & dei Garisendi | Academy at Bologna and Science contains | wax models v curious Instituto & University | Public Fountain . [in pencil] by J of Bol. good figure Ex legs | Imola. 20 Miles from B .. | To Faenza 10 M | Forli 9 Miles The tabernacle in the chapel of the sacrament | said to be M Angelo Benedictine Abbey of Mercuria | le | To Forlimpopoli 4 M Cesena 7 Mile. | on Castle and ancient Bridge of 3 arches | 2 Miles in the Pisatello or Rubicon. | St Marino | Savignano. 4 Miles Luso 6 M further. | Rimini bridge of the Ariminum marble | Gate and Arch of Agustus | Cattolica | 10 Miles. Pesaro Churches S Giovanni | La Misericordia S Carlo Bridge over | the Foglia | 7 miles to Farno a triumphal Arch to Ag | a gallery or arcade of 5 arches terribly [?defaced] | Bridge over the Metaurus. Monte Asdrubal | about 3 Miles from – Fossombrone on the Forli Road | Two hours Senegaglia | To Ancona 20 Miles. The Mole. port | triumphal arch to Trajan .. the Church of | Agostiniani. Giesu by (Vanvitelli)
These notes relate to various passages from volume I of Eustace’s text and condense the author’s description of the journey between Parma and Ancona.2 Powell has argued that Turner may have studied the preceding part of the book which discusses the northern cities of Verona, Vicenza, Padua and Venice, but that for some reason these pages were removed from the notebook.3
Although he didn’t follow Eustace’s itinerary exactly, Turner visited many of the places mentioned in the text such as Bologna, Rimini and Ancona (see Venice to Ancona sketchbook, Tate; Turner Bequest CLXXVI). Powell believes that the inscribed pencil interjection, ‘by J of Bol. good figure Ex legs’, is evidence of Turner consulting his notebook whilst actually standing in front of the subject.4 This annotation refers to the Fountain of Neptune in the Piazza Nettuno in Bologna with its bronze statue of the eponymous god by Giambologna (1529–1608). She suggests that Turner’s abbreviated comment stands for ‘Ex[cellent] legs’, although it may also mean ‘good figure Ex[cept] legs’. The artist sketched the fountain in the Venice to Ancona sketchbook (see D14535, D14538, D14540; Turner Bequest CLXXVI 26a, 26d, 26f) and also copied the engraved view by John ‘Warwick’ Smith from Select Views in Italy, see folio 17 (D13963).
For a general discussion of Turner’s study of Eustace see the introduction to the sketchbook.

Nicola Moorby
July 2008

Powell 1984, pp.380–1.
John Chetwode Eustace, A Classical Tour Through Italy, London 1815, 3rd edition, vol.1, pp.248–96.
Powell 1984, pp.379–80.
Ibid., pp.82, 379.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Notes by Turner from Eustace’s ‘A Classical Tour Through Italy’ c.1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, July 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-notes-by-turner-from-eustaces-a-classical-tour-through-italy-r1138759, accessed 18 May 2024.