Joseph Mallord William Turner

Part of Panoramic View of Rome from the Tower of the Capitol: The Esquiline to the Palatine


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 x 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 76 a

Catalogue entry

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).

Nicola Moorby
January 2009

Powell 1984, pp.223 and 427.
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, no.704; W.G. Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., London 1908, vol.I, no.148 (Tate, T06016). Hakewill’s drawing is not part of the collection of the British School of Rome and its whereabouts are therefore unknown.

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