Joseph Mallord William Turner

Nine Sketches of the Aurelian Walls, Rome

1819

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 113 x 189 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15389
Turner Bequest CLXXXII 49

Catalogue entry

Cecilia Powell has identified the subject of these nine drawings as sections of the Aurelian Walls. Built 271–275 AD, these Roman walls, characterised by regular square towers, enclosed the ancient city of Rome and its seven hills and several surviving sections can still be seen today. Powell has also suggested that the rough nature of Turner’s sketches indicates that he might have been drawing from a moving vehicle.1

Nicola Moorby
May 2008

1
Powell 1984, p.472 note 11.

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