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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Village of Simplon, near the Simplon Pass 1819

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 1 Verso:
Village of Simplon, near the Simplon Pass 1819
Turner Bequest CXCIV 1 a
Pencil on white wove paper, 121 x 195 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil ‘snow’ within sketch of mountain, top left
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The subject of this sketch is the village of Simplon (Simplon-dorf), which lies within a valley approximately nine miles south of the Simplon pass in Switzerland. Turner’s view is taken from the road to the north-west, representing the return leg of the journey back to Italy.1 To the left of the village is the small eighteenth-century Church of St Gotthard and rising in the distance beyond are steep mountain peaks which the artist has noted are covered in snow. The composition recalls the conventional approach for nineteenth-century vedute artists,2 and a similar vista can be found on the inside front cover of the sketchbook (D40959).

Nicola Moorby
April 2011

Not as Federico Crimi has previously suggested from the east, see Crimi 2007, p.33 note 42.
See for example, Gabriel Lory’s print, Vue du Village de Simplon, from Voyage Pittoresque de Genè à Milan par le Simplon circa 1811, reproduced at http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/search_object_image.aspx?currentpage=1&toadbc=ad&objectid=3295989&asset_id=844682&images=on&orig=%2fresearch%2fsearch_the_collection_database.aspx&partid=1&searchtext=simplon&fromadbc=ad&numpages=10, and Major James Cockburn, Village of the Simplon, from Views to Illustrate the Route of the Simplon, London 1822, pl.XXII. For views by other artists see also Crimi 2007, p.33 note 42.

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Village of Simplon, near the Simplon Pass 1819 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, April 2011, 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-village-of-simplon-near-the-simplon-pass-r1132766, accessed 25 May 2024.