Lakeside with Terraced Villa [drawing]
The editors of the Library Edition describe the image as “a lake‐side, with terraced gardens, hills behind” (Ruskin, Works, 2:364 n. 1). The image strongly suggests a view of Isola Bella in Lago Maggiore, facing the end of the island where the terraced gardens rise from the level of the lake. The drawing shows the vertical cypresses and statues decorating the terraces, and the horizontal arched wall extending to the right of the terraces. According to the List of Proposed Additional Contents for the “Account”—Illustrations), Ruskin intended a drawing of Isola Bella for the proposed section of the work entitled “Domo dʼOssola”. On one day of their tour, the Ruskins traveled to this mountain town from the island in Lago Maggiore. (For the Ruskinsʼ visit to the gardens on Isola Bella, see the entry with gloss for “Domo dʼOssola” in the Proposed Additional Contents.)
Of course, Ruskin may have meant the drawing for another villa. According to Mary Richardson, while staying at Cadenabbia, the Ruskins visited a number of villas on Lake Como where they admired terraced gardens extending down to the lakeside, such as Villa Sommariva, Villa Pliniana, and Villa Melzi (Diary of Mary Richardson, 1833, 43–45). None of these seems likely, however, to have suggested a view oriented away from the villa itself and presenting only the terraces of the garden—a view unique to an island villa like Isola Bella, where the visitor can circle around the structures.