Joseph Mallord William Turner
Sections of Ruins and the Aurelian Walls, Rome 1819

Artwork details

Sections of Ruins and the Aurelian Walls, Rome
From Albano, Nemi, Rome Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CLXXXII
Date 1819
Medium Graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 189 x 113 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXII 73
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Catalogue entry

This page contains three distinct views which appear to have been executed extremely swiftly. The two uppermost scenes appear to depict the characteristic square towers of sections of the Aurelian Walls, with parts of an aqueduct running over the top. The subject of the sketch at the bottom is currently unidentified although it appears to show an extensive group of ruins, possibly the Baths of Caracalla. Cecilia Powell has argued that the uneven and rough nature of these sketches suggests they may have been drawn from a moving vehicle.1 This would certainly explain the need to capture quick impressions of different scenes on the same sheet.
This page also contains patches of blue watercolour.

Nicola Moorby
May 2008

Powell 1984, p.472 note 11.

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