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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Two Distant Views of Borghetto and the Tiber Valley; and the Ponte Felice 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 72 Recto:
Two Distant Views of Borghetto and the Tiber Valley; and the Ponte Felice 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXVII 72
Pencil on white wove paper, 110 x 186 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘72’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CLXXVII 72’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Beyond Narni, Turner’s route to Rome continued south towards the next two post stages, Otricoli and Borghetto, where the Via Flaminia crossed the River Tiber at the Ponte Felice.1 John Chetwode Eustace described the terrain in A Classical Tour Through Italy, first published in 1813:
From Narni the road runs through the defile along the middle of the declivity, till suddenly, the opposite mountain seems to burst asunder, and opens through its shaggy sides an extensive view over the plain of the Tiber, terminating in the mountains of Viterbo. Here we left the defile and the Nar, but continued to enjoy mountain and forest scenery for some miles, till descending the last declivity, a few miles from Otricoli, for the first time in the midst of a spacious and verdant plain, we beheld clear and distinct, glittering in the beams of the sun, and winding along in silent dignity – the Tiber.2
Turner had made notes upon this passage in the Italian Guide Book sketchbook (see Tate D13940; CLXXII 5). This page contains two distant views of the valley of the Tiber with Borghetto on the left, and Magliano Sabina on the right. The river meanders through the plain in the centre. Part of these views spills over onto the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 71 verso (D14792).
In the bottom right-hand corner, is a slightly more detailed close up study of the Ponte Felice with the ruined fortress at Borghetto on the slopes of the hill beyond.

Nicola Moorby
November 2008

The post stage itinerary was published in Reichard’s Italy, London 1818, pp.301 and 330. See Turner’s own copy (Tate, Turner Bequest CCCLXVII).
John Chetwode Eustace, A Classical Tour Through Italy, London 1815, vol.I, pp.336–7.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Two Distant Views of Borghetto and the Tiber Valley; and the Ponte Felice 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, November 2008, 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-two-distant-views-of-borghetto-and-the-tiber-valley-and-the-r1138956, accessed 18 April 2021.