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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Bridge at Villeneuve, and the Tour Colin, Val d'Aosta 1802

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
The Bridge at Villeneuve, and the Tour Colin, Val d’Aosta 1802
Turner Bequest LXXIV 5
Pencil, black chalk and white gouache on greyish-buff laid paper, 282 x 211 mm
Stamped in black ‘LXXIV 5’ bottom right
Blind-stamped with the Turner Bequest monogram bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
For Turner’s visit to the Val d’Aosta in 1802 see Introduction to the sketchbook.
Turner’s label for this drawing is inscribed ‘La Pont cachai a Ville Neuve de Aoust’ [sic]. The subject is the ancient bridge across the River Doire, with its broken arch, and behind it the fortified Tour Colin. On the right, in shade, is the steep slope rising up to the Château d’Argent although the castle itself is out of view. The 1802 drawing served as the basis of two watercolours, one signed and dated 1813 and first recorded in the collection of John Ruskin (private collection)1 and the second made c.1818–19 (British Museum, London).2 Of these the earlier is the closest to the drawing while the later version is more elaborate and considerably dramatised, with the bridge heightened and extended to two complete arches and the castle restored in picturesque medieval style and set on a steeper hill. Ruskin was uncertain of the exact location depicted in his watercolour while the other has sometimes been mistaken for the Italian town of Narni, also famous for a ruined Roman bridge. Already in the drawing, Turner has responded to the classical feeling and associations of the landscape which he emphasised in the later watercolours.
For other drawings of Château d’Argent and Villeneuve from this sketchbook see D04500; Turner Bequest LXXIV 8 and D04561; Turner Bequest LXXIV 68. Turner made more drawings around Villeneuve in 1836.
Wilton 1979, p.344 no.397.
Ibid., p.345 no.403.
Blank, inscribed perhaps by a later hand in pencil ‘4’ with a circle

David Blayney Brown
September 2011

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘The Bridge at Villeneuve, and the Tour Colin, Val d’Aosta 1802 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, September 2011, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, August 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-the-bridge-at-villeneuve-and-the-tour-colin-val-daosta-r1146368, accessed 23 June 2024.