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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Study for 'St Maurice', Rogers's 'Italy' c.1826-7

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Study for ‘St Maurice’, Rogers’s ‘Italy’ circa 1826–7
Turner Bequest CCLXXX 1
Pencil and watercolour, approximately 145 x 210 mm on stiff cream paper, 197 x 248 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘(1’ bottom right
Inscribed by unknown hands in pencil ‘167’ bottom centre and ‘ “St. Maurice” ’and ‘Oxford. 94–125’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCLXXX 1’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This is a preliminary study for Turner’s vignette illustration, St Maurice (see Tate D27664; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 147). The finished version of the design contains far more detail, but both images share the same essential composition. As with the vignette depicting the chapel of William Tell, the close relationship between Turner’s preliminary and final designs suggests that he had a clear notion of how he wanted to develop this subject from the outset (see Tate D27622; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 105 and Tate D27672; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 155). There are, nonetheless, several subtle differences between the two versions. Adele Holcomb has pointed out that this study ‘conveys a sense of tumultuous movement and a grandeur of scale in the mountains as compared with the modest size of the bridge.’1 By contrast, in the finished vignette, Turner has enlarged the bridge and moved it forward, which limits the viewer’s access to the landscape beyond. As a result, the finished composition lacks much of the dynamism and illusionistic depth of this early study.
Holcomb 1966, p.55.

Meredith Gamer
August 2006

How to cite

Meredith Gamer, ‘Study for ‘St Maurice’, Rogers’s ‘Italy’ c.1826–7 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, August 2006, 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-study-for-st-maurice-rogerss-italy-r1133295, accessed 30 May 2024.