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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Lantern Spire of Milan Cathedral from the North-East 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 15 Recto:
The Lantern Spire of Milan Cathedral from the North-East 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXV 15
Pencil on white wove paper, 185 x 112 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in blue ink ‘15’ bottom right, descending vertically and ‘300’ bottom left, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘CLXXV 15’ bottom left, descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The Turner scholar C.F. Bell annotated Finberg’s 1909 Inventory entry (‘Tower of the Cathedral’): ‘Milan, from Corso Vittorio Emanuele’.1 Drawn with the page turned vertically, the view is to the south-west, with the cathedral seen from what is now Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. The buildings there today are all later or much altered, but the viewpoint from the corner of the Via Agnello is comparable.
Turner’s foreground appears somewhat provisional, as though he were moving around to get the best viewpoint of the cathedral’s soaring lantern spire, topped by the ‘Madonnina’ statue of the Virgin Mary (see also folio 3 recto; D14329). Folio 14 recto (D14346) appears to be a first attempt at the same view, this time with the buildings in the foreground in more detail. See under folio 2 recto (D14328), showing the west front of the cathedral, for other Milan views.
Undated MS note by C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.512.

Matthew Imms
March 2017

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘The Lantern Spire of Milan Cathedral from the North-East 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2017, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, July 2017, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-the-lantern-spire-of-milan-cathedral-from-the-north-east-r1186460, accessed 14 June 2024.