The Fort of L'Esseillon, Val de la Maurienne, France

Joseph Mallord William Turner British

Not on view

Walter C. Baker, a significant drawings collector who served as The Met’s vice president, donated this Turner watercolor to the Museum. We look southwest along the Arc River gorge toward the Fort of L’Esseillon, a stepped construction on a slope in the middle distance, with snowcapped peaks beyond. The complex was built between 1819 and 1836 to guard the Mont-Cenis Pass into Italy after France ceded Savoy to Piedmont. Turner likely borrowed details of the composition from an engraved illustration in an 1827 book written by his friend William Brockedon. The drawing’s detailed handling suggests a date in the 1830s, though it was likely finished before the artist set out for France in 1836—a tour during which he typically worked in a looser manner.

The Fort of L'Esseillon, Val de la Maurienne, France, Joseph Mallord William Turner (British, London 1775–1851 London), Watercolor

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