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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Sketches from the Simplon Pass Road, Including a View of the Village of Simplon from the North-West 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Inside front cover:
Sketches from the Simplon Pass Road, Including a View of the Village of Simplon from the North-West 1819
D40959
Turner Bequest
Pencil on white wove paper, 121 x 195 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil ‘Masin [?Rip...]’ top left, ‘W’, ‘Cloud’, ‘Sun’ and ‘mountain half light’ top, centre left, and ‘W[...] F[...] | [?Slekin]’ within sketch, top right
Inscribed by the Executors of the Turner Bequest in black ink ‘No–189 | This book contains 40 leaves | Pencil sketches on Tinted Papers | some on both sides | H.S. Trimmer | C. Turner’ and initialled in pencil by Charles Lock Eastlake ‘C.L.E.’ and John Prescott Knight, ‘JPK’, descending right-hand edge
Inscribed by unknown hands in pencil ‘CXCIV’ centre right-hand edge, and ‘one out [?Ruskin]’ bottom right bottom right, descending right-hand edge
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner has divided the inside front cover of the sketchbook into four or five individual sketches featuring views from the road through the Simplon Pass (see the sketchbook introduction). The largest study in the bottom centre and right-hand corner of the page depicts the Swiss village of Simplon (also known as Simplon-dorf), which lies within a valley approximately nine miles south of the pass itself.1 The drawing depicts the village from the north-west (i.e. on the return journey from Switzerland to Italy), and although the details are now partially obscured by the inscribed endorsement of the Turner Bequest executors, the topography is clearly identifiable, with the tower of the eighteenth-century Church of St Gotthard rising above the rooftops of the houses. Visible in the distance are the sharp peaks of the mountains. For further views of Simplon see folio 1 verso and 11 verso (D16891 and D16911). Other sketches on the page are too faint or schematic to be conclusively identified.

Nicola Moorby
April 2011

1
Tentatively identified by Crimi 2007, p.33 note 42.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Sketches from the Simplon Pass Road, Including a View of the Village of Simplon from the North-West 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, April 2011, 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-sketches-from-the-simplon-pass-road-including-a-view-of-the-r1132764, accessed 22 May 2024.