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 15 Recto:
Notes by Turner from Eustace’s ‘A Classical Tour Through Italy’ circa 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXII 15
Inscribed by the artist in black ink with (see main catalogue entry) on white wove paper, 155 x 99 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘15’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CLXXII 15’ 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:
Carthusian abby and St Elmo on the same hill | hill Stada di Toledo & Chiaia the | resort Lazzaroni Lazzaro Lacerus Latin | Spanish lacero. Banchieri Benches where | prostitutes sleep at night Lazari del | Mercati del Lavinaro | Capau built by the Etruscans | Minturnae Casilinum aqueduct Mola | first stage from Naples Aversa Chiagno | sometimes Lagno Capua lazy river Savone | Francoli river Liris Gaeta grove of | Cicero Mt Cæcubus. Fondi Terracina | Feronia plundered by Hannibal – | Civita Castellana. ruins of the ramparts and aqueduct | ancient Veii St Maria dei Fallari Sagro Convento | oratory or rustic chapel called Madonna degli | Angeoli. where St Francis daily prayd on the 2 Aug Augt | a festival and procession. Perugia a castle on the | top of a Mt, walls etc from Mt Magiona Lake Trasimenus | 10.7.3 Islands Polvese Minore Maggiore with a Church | Torricelli to Passignano ^ defile^ Borgheto ^precipice^. Viterbo | Ossaia, Camoscia. Cortona Arretium Petrarch | Guido de Aretino, invent the gamut in music Etrurian plains | river Chiana Vale di Arno. Vallombrosa ^Abbey^ the best part | from Lavorne to Incisa. Florence Il Duomo the usual ^name^ | cathedral campanile or Belfry Baptistry. the Gate of Paradise by | Lorenzo Giberti tomb of M Angelo at Santa Croce Ponte | della Trinita 3 elliptic arches, by Ammanati
These notes relate to various passages from volume III of Eustace’s text and condense parts of the author’s account of Naples, its environs, the return journey towards Rome amd journey between Rome and Florence.2 Many of the sights listed here form subjects in Turner’s sketchbooks, such as Naples, Fondi and Terracina, see the Gandolfo to Naples sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CLXXXIV) and Florence, see the Rome and Florence sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CXCI).
As James Hamilton has pointed out, in one instance on this page Turner’s comments were derived from a source other than Eustace. He notes how vagrants are sometimes known as ‘Banchieri’ after the public benches on which they sleep but also adds that they are ‘where prostitutes sleep at night’, a piece of information not available in A Classical Tour.3 Another such example is his note regarding the gates of the Baptistry in Florence. Nowhere does Eustace mention that these are the work of Lorenzo Ghiberti.4 Turner therefore must have derived this information from another source, possibly the text accompanying the engraving of Florence in Select Views in Italy which Turner copied on another page in this sketchbook, see folio 17 (D13963).
The page also represents a break in Turner’s note–taking. The phrase ‘Feronia plundered by Hannibal’ relates to the following passage: ‘We again passed Feronia, now a solitary scene, once remarkable for the splendor of its temple, which, as Livy relates, was plundered by Hannibal in his return from Rome, in order to avenge on the goddess his late disappointment’.5 The next line refers to the ramparts at Civita Castellana, revealing that Turner made no records for around 150 pages.6 The three chapters he ignored included information on the ‘Magnificence of Ancient Rome – its Cloaca – Aqueducts – Viae – Forums – Temples – Thermae – Theatres – Instances of private Magnificence – Greatness, the Characteristic of Roman Taste at all times’, ‘Observations on Ancient Names – On Roman Architecture – Defects of the Modern Style – Progress of the Art – Papal Government – Its Character – Consequences of the French Invasion and Preponderance on the present and future state of Rome’ and ‘Departure from Rome – Character of the Romans, ancient and modern’.
For a general discussion of Turner’s notes from Eustace see the introduction to the sketchbook.

Nicola Moorby
July 2008

Powell 1984, pp.399–400.
John Chetwode Eustace, A Classical Tour Through Italy, London 1815, 3rd edition, vol.III, pp.122–359.
Ibid., p.130.
Ibid., p.348.
Ibid., p.153.
Ibid., p.303.

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-r1138780, accessed 24 May 2024.