View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
The subject of this sketch appears to be a curving vaulted corridor with some roughly defined sculptural and architectural details. The scene almost certainly relates to Turner’s exploration of the theatre at Herculaneum which in 1819 was virtually the only part of the archaeological site where anything could be seen. The building still lay underground but could be accessed through eighteenth-century tunnels which had been cut into the volcanic matter. For a fuller description see folio 86 (D15896; Turner Bequest CLXXXV 84).