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This sketch is part of a view of Rome encompassing the Esquiline Hill in the east to the Aventine Hill in the south. As Cecilia Powell first identified, the prospect is taken from the tower of the Senatorial Palace on the Capitoline Hill, one of the most popular vantage points in the city.1 Turner made a complete record of the 360-degree view from the tower spread across four double-page spreads, see folios 74 verso–79 (D16293–D16300; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 74a–78). For a general discussion see folio 74 verso (D16293; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 74a).
This part of the panorama is the same view depicted by Turner in The Roman Forum from the Tower of the Capitol (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester), a watercolour engraved by George Cooke for James Hakewill’s Picturesque Views in Italy, published in 1818.2 The identifiable features within the foreground of the sketch include (from left to right): the Church of Santi Luca e Martina on the edge of the Forum; the Arch of Septimius Severus; the Column of Phocas; the three columns of the Temple of Vespasian; the Temple of Saturn; and on the far right-hand side the Orti Farnesiani and the Palatine Hill. The buildings in the middle and background comprise (from left to right): the Baths of Titus; the Basilica of Constantine and Maxentius; the Colosseum with San Giovanni in Laterano just visible beyond; the Arch of Titus; the Arch of Constantine; the Caelian Hill with Santo Stefano Rotondo and Santi Giovanni e Paolo; and the Baths of Caracalla. The view continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 78 (D16298; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 77).
Powell 1984, pp.223 and 427.