Turner Bequest CXLIV 97a
Here, travellers are arriving through a wooded gorge at the gates of a classical city, glimpsed above. A similar idea, at least with regard to the left-hand side of the composition, recurs in an unfinished painting Archway with Trees by the Sea (Tate N03381). The painting is usually associated with Turner’s trip to Rome in 18281, and differs in that it sets the architecture on the coast rather than in a deep wooded valley as in the sketch. It is perhaps significant that the painting is often related to Turner’s finished painting of The Parting of Hero and Leander (National Gallery, London)2 exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1837. A sketch on folio 103 verso of the present sketchbook (D11036) documents the conception of that composition, and it appears that its general elements may have formed and reformed a number of times during Turner’s career.
How to cite
David Hill, ‘Study for a Historical Picture 1816 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, January 2009, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2013, https://www