Joseph Mallord William Turner
Sailing Boat at the Porto di Ripa Grande, Rome 1819

Artwork details

Sailing Boat at the Porto di Ripa Grande, Rome
From St Peter's Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII
Date 1819
Medium Graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 114 x 189 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 55
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

The largest drawing on this page is a detailed record of a sailing boat in the Porto di Ripa Grande, the busiest and most important port in Rome, situated on the western banks of the Tiber between modern day Ponte Sublicio and Ponte Palatino. Turner depicts a cargo ship which has probably come up the river towards the city to dock outside the Dogana di Mare (Marine Custom-house). In addition to the main sketch he has made separate studies of the prow and the rudder. Behind the boat, on the opposite side of the river, can be seen a section of the Aurelian walls near the Porta San Paolo and the Pyramid of Cestius. For other views of the port see folio 54 verso (D16258; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 56a).
There is a smaller sketch at the top of the page which shows some ruins amidst a landscape. This may depict the Navali Antichi, the remains of the landing quay of ancient Rome, situated on the eastern bank of the river opposite the Ripa Grande.1 The scene appears to have reminded Turner of the work of Welsh landscape painter Richard Wilson (1713–1782) whose name he has inscribed above the line of the horizon.

Nicola Moorby
September 2008

William Cadell, A Journey in Carniola, Italy and France in the Years 1817, 1818, Edinburgh 1820, vol.I, p.419.

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