Joseph Mallord William Turner

Peristyle of the Villa of Diomides, Pompeii


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 113 x 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXV 2

Catalogue entry

Turner entered the archaeological site of Pompeii from the north-west along the Via dei Sepolcri (Street of the Tombs). The first set of ruins he came to therefore was the Villa of Diomedes, an opulent suburban house and garden first excavated during the years 1771–4, which stands on the right-hand side of the road just outside of the main city walls.1 A flight of steps leads directly from the street into the villa’s inner courtyard which is surrounded on four sides by the remnants of a fourteen columned porch or peristyle. This sketch depicts a view of the north side of the peristyle as seen from the corner beside the Via dei Sepolcri entrance. Further studies of the Villa of Diomedes can be seen on folios 3 verso–4 (D15742–D15743).
For a general discussion of Turner’s visit to Pompeii see the introduction to the sketchbook.
Further north-west on the site today is the Villa dei Misteri (Villa of Mysteries) but this was not discovered until the early twentieth century.

Nicola Moorby
September 2010

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