Joseph Mallord William Turner

Frascati and the Villa Lancellotti, from the Road to Villa Falconieri; ?the Portale delle Armi; and Sketch of two Figures

1819

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 189 x 113 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15453
Turner Bequest CLXXXII 81 a

Catalogue entry

The main sketch on this page shows the Villa Lancellotti and the view looking north-west towards Frascati from the road leading to Villa Falconieri (also known as Villa Rufina) in the surrounding countryside. Sometimes called the Villa Piccolomini because it was owned by that family for many decades, the Villa Lancellotti is the closest of all of the papal estates built in the vicinity of Frascati during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. As Turner sketch shows, the town lies immediately beneath the villa to the right, recognisable from the two towers flanking the Baroque façade of the Cathedral, the Basilica of St Peter the Apostle.
It is not clear to what Turner’s inscription ‘In the distance of Borgashe’ (i.e. Borghese) is referring. He is possibly indicating the close proximity of his viewpoint to the Villa Taverna (also called Parisi) which belonged to the Borghese family, see folio 27 verso (D15346). However, it could equally refer to the sketch in the top right-hand corner which may possibly show the Portale delle Armi, a gate in the form of a triumphal arch designed for Cardinal Scipione Borghese.
With the sketchbook in landscape format Turner has also made a quick study of two figures, a man wearing breeches, a jacket and a hat, and a woman with dark hair and some kind of headdress.

Nicola Moorby
May 2008

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