During his tour of Italy in 1819 Turner made around two thousand sketches of varying size and and nature, in twenty-three sketchbooks. During his two-to three-month stay in Rome, he produced a series of very detailed on prepared
with a grey wash.
The precision and accuracy with which
he has recorded this sweeping view from the hills above St Peter's recalls his early training as an architectural draughtsman. These studies of the topography of the
city and geography of the surrounding
area would have proved invaluable reference material for works undertaken
on his return to England.
Gallery label, September 2004