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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The West End of Milan Cathedral from the Piazza del Duomo 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 1 Verso:
The West End of Milan Cathedral from the Piazza del Duomo 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXV 1a
Pencil on white wove paper, 112 x 185 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘Teatro | [?Lantano] | in Musica | [?L...] | in Ballo’ and ‘Teatro Carcano | St Sop Musica | [?S Elisa]’ top centre, ‘As broad as high | [?to] the top [...]’ towards top right, and ‘[?F...]’ and ‘[B...]’ towards bottom right, on signs under arches
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The right-hand third of the page is taken up with a continuation of the buildings and arcade formerly running along the north side of the square west of Milan Cathedral, seen in the full-page drawing on folio 2 recto opposite (D14328), under which other views of the city are noted. Immediately to its left is a profile of an architectural moulding, perhaps associated with the elaborate arches.
At the top centre are notes concerning local theatres; the format of the two passages suggests they were copied from signs or posters in the vicinity. Some of the words are clearer than others, but ‘Musica’ is mentioned on both bills, as well as ‘Ballo’ (dance) on the first, while the second refers to the Teatro Carcano, a theatre and opera house which remains open in Milan today. On the evidence of these notes and in the context of Turner’s wider interest in music and the theatre, Cecilia Powell has observed: ‘It is possible that Turner, like many other English visitors to the continent at this time, attended musical events in Italy’.1

Matthew Imms
March 2017

Powell 1982, p.17 note 13; see also Powell 1984, p.324, Powell 1987, pp.153, 207 note 83, and Powell 2001, p.207.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘The West End of Milan Cathedral from the Piazza del Duomo 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-west-end-of-milan-cathedral-from-the-piazza-del-duomo-r1186441, accessed 15 June 2024.