View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
Cecilia Powell has identified the subject of this sketch as a view of the Piazza del Popolo, the traditional entry point to Rome for travellers from the north.1 Turner’s viewpoint is near the entrance of Via del Babuino looking north towards the inner façade of the Porta del Popolo, and on the right, the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo. Dominating the centre of the composition is the Egyptian obelisk of Rameses II (sometimes called the Obelisco Flaminio) which stands at the heart of the square. The fountain which can be seen in front of the obelisk was moved from this position in 1823 and today can be seen in Piazza Nicosia.2
In the bottom left-hand corner of the page is a separate inverted landscape sketch. This appears to depict a view of Lake Nemi, see folios 1 verso, 6, 26 verso, 29 verso, 75 verso, 80 verso and 82 (D15106, D15113, D15154, D15160, D15236, D15246 and D15249; Turner Bequest CLXXX 1a, 5, 25a, 28a, 74a, 79a and 81).