Joseph Mallord William TurnerSketches Inside the Theatre at Herculaneum 1819

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Artwork details

Artist
Title
Sketches Inside the Theatre at Herculaneum
From Pompeii, Amalfi, &c., Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CLXXXV
Date 1819
MediumGraphite on paper
Dimensionssupport: 113 x 189 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D15898
Turner Bequest CLXXXV 85
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 87 Recto:
Sketches Inside the Theatre at Herculaneum 1819
D15898
Turner Bequest CLXXXV 85
Pencil on white wove paper, 113 x 189 mm
Inscribed by the artist in pencil ‘Corridor’ above sketch at bottom
Inscribed by ?John Ruskin in blue ink ‘278’ top right, ascending right-hand edge and ‘85’ top left, ascending left-hand edge
Stamped in black ‘CLXXXV 85’ top right, ascending right-hand edge
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
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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