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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner View of Loreto from the North; and two views of a tower ?in Villa Potenza 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 9 Verso:
View of Loreto from the North; and two views of a tower ?in Villa Potenza 1819
Turner Bequest CLXXVII 9 a
Pencil on white wove paper, 110 x 186 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil ‘M de [...] [?Macerata] | de [?faciata] de | Loretta dei [?Molna]’ and ‘Blue and Red Cap’ top left of sketch of tower, ascending left-hand edge and ‘Recina’ underneath sketch of tower, ascending left-hand edge. Also ‘Macerata [?due] V L North or the [...]| [?along] the Rome Road the [...] the | W carry [...] | due South’ underneath landscape sketch, across centre left of page
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
After a sustained period of travel along the east coast from Rimini, Turner’s route towards Rome turned inland at Ancona and began to follow a south-westerly course towards the Apennine Mountains. Many of the urban settlements in this part of Italy were built upon high ground and Turner made a number of sketches of the hilltop towns and cities he glimpsed as he travelled through the landscape of the Marche region of Italy. The order of these drawings within the beginning of this sketchbook does not appear to follow a strict geographical sequence.
Turner has used this page on two separate occasions: firstly for sketches of and from Loreto; and secondly for notes and drawings recording the approach to Helvia Ricina and Macerata. The largest sketch in landscape format depicts the view from the road looking up towards the north side of the city of Loreto. On the left is the dome and bell-tower of the Santuario della Santa Casa whilst on the right is the tower and circular bastion of the commune. A similar composition can be seen on folio 10 (D14671) and a more detailed sketch of the bastion can be found on folio 10 verso (D14672). In the bottom right-hand corner is another landscape with a deep valley and distant mountains. This is probably a view drawn from the same location but looking away from the city across the surrounding countryside.
The second set of drawings and notes have been executed with the sketchbook held vertically as a notebook. The wobbly character of the lines and the handwriting suggests that they were made from a moving carriage. The sketches include two views of the same medieval tower, labelled ‘Recina’. This may be the Torre del Mulino, a fortified flour mill, which can still be seen in the town of Villa Potenza, near the ancient Roman remains of Helvia Recina, approximately twelve miles south of Loreto, see folios 12, 18 and 19 (D14675, D14687 and D14689).

Nicola Moorby
November 2008

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘View of Loreto from the North; and two views of a tower ?in Villa Potenza 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-view-of-loreto-from-the-north-and-two-views-of-a-tower-in-r1138832, accessed 30 May 2024.