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This sketch depicts the countryside on the northern outskirts of Rome. Turner’s viewpoint is from the east at a point near the Fontana dell’Acqua Acetosa, with the plain of the River Tiber stretching out before him and the heights of Monte Mario beyond. The bridge visible on the right in the mid-distance is the Ponte Molle, see folio 36 (D16217; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 35).
Turner worked up a similar landscape composition to this view in watercolour in the Naples: Rome C. Studies sketchbook (see Tate D16133; Turner Bequest CLXXXVII 45). The building on the far left-hand side of the sketch is probably the same one which appears on the right-hand side of the watercolour.