Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of Sculptural Fragments from the Galleria of the Palazzo Nuovo in the Capitoline Museums, Rome


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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 161 x 101 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLXXX 52 a

Catalogue entry

In addition to sketching in the Vatican Museums, Turner made a thorough study of the ancient Greek and Roman sculptures in the Palazzo Nuovo of the Capitoline Museums. The drawings on this page represent works from the Galleria (Gallery), a long connecting room on the first floor, which contains a variety of statues, portraits, reliefs and inscriptions, many of which are still displayed in their original eighteenth-century arrangement. All of the subjects were first identified by Cecilia Powell. The studies are numbered from top left to bottom right:
The sketch at the top of the page represents part of the octagonal cinerarium (ash urn) of D. Lucilius Felix.1 The object is decorated with a sculptural relief of amorini and masks. Turner has annotated the drawing with the number ‘29’.
The sketch on the left-hand side of the second row depicts a winged statue of Psyche, a Roman copy of a Greek original, from the Villa d’Este, Tivoli which was only moved to the gallery in 1817.2 Powell has suggested that Turner has amalgamated features from oblique and frontal views of the sculpture, so that her wings and left arm both appear at their most extended and she is therefore represented at her most graceful.3 The drawing is annotated with the number ‘32’.
The sketch on the right-hand side of the second row depicts a cinerarium with a funerary inscription to Valeria Herius and M. Valerius Hermes.4 Turner has annotated the drawing with the number ‘49’.
The sketch on the right-hand side of the third row depicts part of cinerarium with a funerary inscription to C. Larinas Atticus.5
The two sketches in the bottom left-hand corner depict variant views of a statue of a seated woman, formerly known as Julia Pia.6 The object was found on the Via Appia near the Church of Quo Vadis in 1817 and purchased for the museum the following year. Turner has annotated the drawing with the number ‘56’.
The sketch in the bottom right-hand corner represents the cinerarium of Celadus.7 Turner has transcribed the Latin inscription ‘CELADVS | CCAESERIS | DISP’.

Nicola Moorby
November 2009

Powell 1984, p.419; H. Stuart Jones, A Catalogue of the Ancient Sculptures preserved in the Municipal Collections of Rome. The Sculptures of the Museo Capitolino, Oxford 1912, ‘Galleria’ no.10, p.91, reproduced pl.26. See also the Capitoline Museums online collection records,, accessed November 2009.
Powell 1984, p.419; Jones 1912, ‘Galleria’ no.20, p.98, reproduced pl.19; see also
Powell 1984, p.117 and Powell 1987, pp.[43]–44.
Powell 1984, p.419; Jones 1912, ‘Galleria’ no.18, p.97, reproduced pl.33; see also
Powell 1984, p.419; Jones 1912, ‘Galleria’ no.43a, p.116, reproduced pl.34a; see also
Powell 1984, p.419; Jones 1912, ‘Galleria’ no.42, p.115, reproduced pl.20; see also
Powell 1984, p.419; Jones 1912, ‘Galleria’ no.35a, p.111, reproduced pl.33; see also
See Tony Cubberley and Luke Herrmann, Twilight of the Grand Tour: A Catalogue of the drawings by James Hakewill in the British School at Rome Library, Rome 1992, no.5M.28, reproduced p.327.
Powell 1984, p.482 note 67 and Powell 1987, p.58 note 38; Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, no.229, reproduced pl.232, and in Powell 1987, colour pl.11, p.[64].

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