Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Ornamental Details from Ruins in the Roman Forum


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 114 x 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 58 a

Catalogue entry

The ornamental and architectural details on this page appear to relate to various sections of ruined buildings in the Roman Forum. Cecilia Powell has linked them to Turner’s depiction of the ground-level masonry in front of the Basilica of Constantine in his large oil painting, Forum Romanum, for Mr Soane’s Museum exhibited 1826 (Tate N00504).1 In particular the sections of entablature with egg and dart detailing and the corbels decorated with bas-relief figures correspond to large fragments lying in the right-hand foreground of the picture. Other drawings on the page seem to relate to different monuments in the Forum, for example the Corinthian capital in the bottom right-hand corner which may be part of the Temple of Castor and Pollux or the Arch of Titus. Further sketches can be found on the opposite sheet of the double-page spread, see folio 60 (D16263; Turner Bequest CLXXXVIII 59).

Nicola Moorby
January 2009

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, no.233; Powell 1984, p.255 and Powell 1987, p.122 note 64.

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like