Rome was considered by artists, patrons and connoisseurs to be the artistic capital of Europe. Thomas Lawrence wrote to fellow artist Joseph Farington in 1819, 'Turner should come to Rome. His Genius would here be supplied with new Materials and entirely congenial with it.'
This is one of many sketches Turner made during his first stay in Rome, in 1819. After his return he used his sketches as the basis for major oil paintings, including The Bay of Baiae (shown in this room) and the Forum Romanum, for Mr Soanes Museum (shown in room 41).