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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Three Sketches of Mountains near ?Mont Cenis; One with Mont Blanc in the Distance 1820

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 3 Recto:
Three Sketches of Mountains near ?Mont Cenis; One with Mont Blanc in the Distance 1820
D16645
Turner Bequest CXCII 3
Pencil on white wove paper, 128 x 98 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil ‘M Blanc’ top left and ‘P’ ‘Y’ and ‘G’ in sky of second sketch
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘3’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CXCII 3’ bottom right
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This page contains three rough sketches of mountainous landscape. The precise locations have not been identified although they are likely to represent views of the Alps from near the Mont Cenis pass, see folio 2 verso (D16644). The uppermost vista contains an inscription indicating the position of distant ‘Mont Blanc’. Turner has also annotated the central study with notes concerning the colour values of the landscape; ‘P’, ‘Y’ and ‘G’ presumably refer to the appearance of a pink and yellow dawn sky.
The art historian John Gage has described this sheet as typical of Turner’s sketchbook practice on the road. He likens the quality of the draughtsmanship to ‘shorthand writing’ and suggests that the ‘indecipherability bear[s] witness to the terrible condition of the roads.’1

Nicola Moorby
April 2013

1
Gage 1972, p.40.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Three Sketches of Mountains near ?Mont Cenis; One with Mont Blanc in the Distance 1820 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, April 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, August 2013, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-three-sketches-of-mountains-near-mont-cenis-one-with-mont-r1142544, accessed 29 May 2024.