Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches Inside the Theatre at Herculaneum

1819

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 113 x 189 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15898
Turner Bequest CLXXXV 85

Catalogue entry

As Turner’s inscription indicates, the sketches on this page represent views within the eighteenth-century corridors which led inside the theatre at Herculaneum, the coastal town destroyed by the same eruption that devastated Pompeii in AD 79. In 1819, very little of the site had been uncovered and the rough nature of Turner’s studies reflect the fact that they were drawn in poorly lit, subterranean surroundings.1 For a fuller description of Herculaneum and the theatre see folio 86 (D15896; Turner Bequest CLXXXV 84).

Nicola Moorby
November 2010

1
Powell 1984, p.187, and Powell 1987, pp.82–3.

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