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 5 Recto:
Notes by Turner from Eustace’s ‘A Classical Tour Through Italy’ circa 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXII 5
Inscribed by the artist in black ink (see main catalogue entry) on white wove paper, 155 x 99 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘5’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CLXXII 5’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This page is one 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 is repeated here with only minor variations from her text:
Castle built by Theodoric. on the hill a celebrated | aqueduct ^Roman^ of fine dimensions .unites the town | by a bridge to Monte Luco – | two miles from Spoleto the Monte Somma | Temple of Poseidon Summanus of 5000 feet | Terni the Interamna, Gate .. Cascade | Caduta delle Marmore above the fall | or plain. the Village of Papignia Lake Pie | de Lugo. village Pie de Lugo and Castle of Labro | Reate or Rieti. Vale of the Nar. Narni. | Bridge Vale of the Narn. a defile of | Mt Viterbo to Otricoli. first V of the Tiber | a Theatre. and Ruined portico | Ponte Felice Borghetto. Civita Castellana | Mt Cimini. Right Mt Soracte left Falisco | Nepi – Mt Rosi next stage to Campagna | di Roma hights [sic] above Baccano. 1st view | of Rome – by Monte Mario Ponte | Molle (Pons Milvius – by the Via Flaminia | entered by Porta del Popolo – Piazza de Espagna | St P:. the Capitol Forum. 2. Triumphal archs | Palatine Mount Nero Palace. Temple | of Apollo Celian Mt Temple of Faunus | Aventine. Esquiline with Tombs and Aquduct [sic] | Viminal Quirinal. Baths of Diocletian. | Antoninus Temple of Minerva Medica | Church of St John’s Lateran Santa Maria | Maggiore
These notes relate to various passages from volume I of Eustace’s text and condense the author’s account of the southward journey between Spoleto and Rome.2 Turner followed a similar itinerary in 1819 and visited many of the places represented within these notes such as the Falls of Terni (Caduta della Marmore), Lake Piediluco, Narni, Otricoli, Borghetto and the Ponte Felice, Civita Castellana and Nepi (see Ancona to Rome sketchbook, Tate, Turner Bequest CLXXVII). He also picks up on Eustace’s description of the first view of Rome:
On the heights above Baccano the postillions stopped, and pointing to a pinnacle that appeared between two hills, exclaimed, – “Roma!” – That pinnacle was the cross of St Peter’s – The “ETERNAL CITY” rose before us! As the traveller advances over the dreary wilds of the Campagna, where not one object occurs to awaken his attention, he has time to recover from the surprise and agitation, which the first view of Rome seldom fails to excite in liberal and ingenious minds.3
This moment was a significant one for tourists since Rome was the accepted highlight of any Italian soujourn and the anticipation of arrival was at its keenest following the first glimpse of the distant dome of St Peter’s. Eustace’s description was just one of numerous written accounts of the excitement felt by the traveller at this point in the journey towards the Eternal City. Turner too recorded the moment in a swift drawing in the Ancona to Rome sketchbook inscribed ‘Primero V. of Roma’ (Tate D14820; Turner Bequest CLXXVII 85a). His notes go on to list the unmissable sights of the city following arrival. As evidenced from his various sketchbooks, Turner visited nearly all of the landmarks outlined in his memoranda.
For a general discussion of Turner’s study of Eustace see the introduction to the sketchbook.

Nicola Moorby
July 2008

Powell 1984, pp.381–2.
John Chetwode Eustace, A Classical Tour Through Italy, London 1815, 3rd edition, vol.1, pp.325–57.
Ibid., pp.341–2.

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-r1138761, accessed 18 May 2024.