Joseph Mallord William Turner
Ruins of the Palace of the Caesars on the Palatine Hill, Rome 1819

Artwork details

Ruins of the Palace of the Caesars on the Palatine Hill, Rome
From Small Roman Colour Studies Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CXC
Date 1819
Medium Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 130 x 255 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXC 17
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Catalogue entry

This page contains part of a panoramic view from the Palace of the Caesars on the Palatine Hill looking south-west towards the Aventine Hill and the Janiculum Hill. The ruins in the foreground represent part of the substructures of Emperor Septimius Severus. In the distance can be seen, from left to right: the Church of Santa Sabina on the Aventine; the high ridge of the Janiculum Hill crowned by trees; and on the far right-hand side, the dome of St Peter’s. The composition continues on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 16 verso (D16418; Turner Bequest CXC 16a). Related views can be found in the Albano, Nemi, Rome sketchbook (see Tate D15392–D15393 and D15440–D15441; Turner Bequest CLXXXII 50a–1 and 74a–5). The panorama is also similar to that in a drawing by James Hakewill, Rome, Ruins of the Palace of the Caesars on the Palatine Hill, later published in a series called Eight Views of Rome, 1823.1
Like many drawings within this sketchbook, the composition has been executed over a washed grey background and Turner has created areas of pale highlights by rubbing or lifting through to the white paper beneath.
Tony Cubberley and Luke Herrmann, Twilight of the Grand Tour: A Catalogue of the drawings by James Hakewill in the British School at Rome Library, Rome 1992, no.3.10, p.188 reproduced.
Blank except for traces of grey watercolour.

Nicola Moorby
May 2009

About this artwork