Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches of Fish from the Market in the Portico of Octavia, Rome

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: 189 x 114 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D16247
Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 51

Catalogue entry

During the nineteenth century, the main fish-market of Rome was situated in the ruins of the Portico of Octavia in the Jewish quarter of the city, see folios 51 and 51 verso (D16245–D16246; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 50–50a). Turner appears to have been fascinated with the various exotic shapes and colours of the fish he saw there on display.
The sketch beneath is unidentified but possibly depicts a fragment of an architectural detail.

Nicola Moorby
September 2008

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